Emoji…What? Google Hangouts Emoji Under the Microscope

on May 23, 2013 by Social Media with 12 comments

One of the big announcements that came out of Google I/O this year was Google Hangouts. Google Hangouts aims to create a seamless communication experience between the mobile, web, and desktop platforms. Whether you are on your computer, your Android device, or an iOS device, you can start or continue previous conversations all within Google Hangouts.

One of the things that got us excited at the Cypress North office was the inclusion of emojis in Google Hangouts. Having a serious conversation about software development or marketing cannot be complete without at least one emoji. As soon as Google Hangouts was released to the public, the first thing we did was start a group chat with everyone in the office. I don’t know if a single character was typed, but there were plenty of emojis to go around.

Google Hangout Emojis

Click To See ALL The Emojis!

Google claims that Hangouts has over 800 emoji. As soon as our emoji conversation started, I was confused, and puzzled by some of the symbols. So much so, that I thought I would take the time to mention the top 5 emoji that confused us all the most, and see if there is any consensus on what these emoji are or what they mean. Let’s get started.

Emoji #5

Our guess: This is the emoji that started my questioning. This is a single emoji, not two next to each other. We understand what this is. It’s a lock and a pen.


My questions: Why is there a lock next to a pen? Lock pen? Pen lock? What?

Emoji #4

Our guess: This is clearly a traffic crossing-guard eating takeout food.


My questions: What is the crossing-guard eating? What intersection is this crossing-guard at (so I know not to cross there)?

Emoji #3

Our guess: We understand the “at” symbol (@), the eighth note symbol (♪), and the percent sign (%), but we are not sure what the top left symbol is.

My questionsWhy are these symbols grouped together? What is the connection? What does this emoji mean?

Emoji #2

Our guess: A Playboy bunny?

My questions: Really? If this is meant to represent anything else, what could that possibly be?

Emoji #1

Our guess: Tiffany claims, with a very a strong conviction, that this emoji is a bamboo whistle. The rest of us are not so certain.

My questions: Seriously, what is this thing? How does it work? Where is it from?

If you can help us understand what these emojis are or what they mean, please let us know in the comments below. Jessica has high hopes for this article:


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Jonathan Nalewajek

Jon is a senior mobile developer at Cypress North. He's also the co-founder and lead developer of Academy Geeks, where he develops applications for the Android operating system for use amongst academics. Jon has previously held a professor role at SUNY Fredonia teaching mobile development classes. He really likes cold pop.


  • Penguin Pete
    on May 23, 2013 Reply

    #5: The only thing it says to me is “write an encrypted file.”

    #4: “Let’s order takeout” of course!

    #3: I think the upper left symbol is a scale, suggesting judgment. So “vote (scales) on your favorite song (note) – we’ll email (danish) you the results (percentages) later.”

    #2: “Warning: Furry hangout.”

    #1: “Happy birthday Spongebob! Here’s you pineapple birthday cake!”

  • Fantabulous
    on May 27, 2013 Reply

    The top left symbol is Japanese sign for “post-office”. Look it up.

  • Diana
    on June 10, 2013 Reply

    #5 According to the unicode definitions Lock with ink pen = privacy. I guess it has to do with keeping someone from writing it down.

    #4 don’t know, can’t find it in the iOS emoji or the unicode.

    #3 is the “Input Symbol for Symbols” if you look right before it you’ll see the one to select capitals, lowercase, and numbers, it’s for keyboard selection.

    #2 It’s just a woman with bunny ears, remember Emoji started in japan, if you watch anime you’ll notice it’s a thing.

    #1 Pine decoration, It’s a thing for the japanese new years celebration.

  • Boldra
    on June 17, 2013 Reply

    #4 is customs. It’s a picture of border police searching a suitcase.

  • Super Taldo
    on August 5, 2013 Reply

    #3 T-like symbol is Japan’s postal service logo. (Remember emoji originated in Japan)

  • aari01
    on September 19, 2013 Reply

    #5 looks like encrypt and sign.

  • isaiasai
    on October 4, 2013 Reply

    #1 Bouquet
    #4 customs/immigration officer

  • Get Emoji
    on January 8, 2014 Reply

    #5: Lock With Ink Pen: http://emojipedia.org/objects/lock-with-ink-pen/

    #4: Customs: http://emojipedia.org/symbols/customs/

    #3: Input Symbol For Symbols: http://emojipedia.org/symbols/input-symbol-for-symbols/

    #2: Woman With Bunny Ears: http://emojipedia.org/people/woman-with-bunny-ears/

    #1: Pine Decoration: http://emojipedia.org/objects/pine-decoration/

  • Cyrus Draegur
    on March 2, 2014 Reply

    These are stupid and pointless. Emoji are supposed to make communications easier, not HARDER! People have a *FAR* easier time understanding simple 🙂 and 🙁 and 😀 and D: and ^_^ and -_- and <3 and all the other standard text symbols. Furthermore there are many cases under which the text NEEDS TO STAY AS TEXT. In a professional environment, if you're making a checklist of 1) 2) … etc, you do NOT want that damned stupid sunglasses grin when you get up to number eight! DAMMIT google, IT WASN'T BROKEN, STOP TRYING TO FIX IT! Now, it IS broken!

    NEWS FLASH: If it's a feature and you can't shut it off, it's a FLAW.

    • Cyrus Draegur
      on March 2, 2014 Reply

      (Oh my god. How meta is this!? YOUR emoji just DEMONSTRABLY messed up the formatting of my post! Hilarious!)

    • Maia
      on April 9, 2014 Reply

      I’m like 98.2% positive the point of emoji is not to make communication easier, just cuter.

      • Deryck Beliveau
        on April 13, 2014 Reply

        They help convey emotion. Similarly to how facial expressions aid in a conversation or how sarcasm can be heard in your voice.

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