Emoji...What? Google Hangouts Emoji Under the Microscope


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:



  1. Author's Headshot
    Penguin Pete May 23, 2013

    #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!"

  2. Author's Headshot
    Fantabulous May 27, 2013

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

  3. Author's Headshot
    Diana June 10, 2013

    #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.

  4. Author's Headshot
    Boldra June 17, 2013

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

  5. Author's Headshot
    Super Taldo August 5, 2013

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

  6. Author's Headshot
    aari01 September 19, 2013

    #5 looks like encrypt and sign.

  7. Author's Headshot
    isaiasai October 4, 2013

    #1 Bouquet
    #4 customs/immigration officer

  8. Author's Headshot
    Cyrus Draegur March 2, 2014

    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.

    • Author's Headshot
      Cyrus Draegur March 2, 2014

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

    • Author's Headshot
      Maia April 9, 2014

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

    • Author's Headshot
      Deryck Beliveau April 13, 2014

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

  9. Author's Headshot
    Phyllis "Kay " Linn September 3, 2016

    I am 65 yrs. young. Hated texting. Way to slow. Oh I also have ADD. Told people (my daughter) not to text. If they want to say something, call. So impersonal to text. Its like a script. you can change it and its not sincere. Just my thinking mind you. And then I found emojis. Now I love to text. They don't have to make sense, or they can if you want. I just have fun with them. Don't have a clue what most of them mean, but am learning a little ( and I mean a little ) at a time. I think there great, and it has brought a new life to my texting. So, I thank oh great emojis Gods. :):):)

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Meet the Author

Senior Software Engineer

Jonathan Nalewajek

Jonathan is a Senior Software Engineer who joined Cypress North in 2012 and works out of our Buffalo office. He brings more than 13 years of experience to our development team. 

Jon, known to our team and clients as J2, works closely with our clients to develop strategic solutions for their problems that will fit their internal infrastructure. He specializes in full-stack development using C#, PHP, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. 

The Buffalo native graduated from SUNY Fredonia with a Bachelor of Science in computer science. Jon later returned to Fredonia to teach a mobile software development course. 

When he’s not at work, Jon loves being active and enjoying the outdoors - whether it’s climbing, hiking, camping, or snowboarding. He also likes woodworking and baking different breads and pizzas. Jon and his wife have a dachshund named Charlie, who Jon considers his best friend.