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Emoji…What? Google Hangouts Emoji Under the Microscope

May 23, 2013

By Jon Nalewajek

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:


Jon Nalewajek

Jon Nalewajek

Not only is Jon largely responsible for mobile application development at Cypress North, but he also plays a role in developing custom ASP.NET and PHP solutions. Whether it is creating web services, custom web components for your website, or helping you build your next big mobile app, Jon has you covered.

See Jon's Most Recent Posts

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Penguin Pete May 23, 2013Reply

#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 May 27, 2013Reply

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

Diana June 10, 2013Reply

#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 June 17, 2013Reply

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

Super Taldo August 5, 2013Reply

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

aari01 September 19, 2013Reply

#5 looks like encrypt and sign.

isaiasai October 4, 2013Reply

#1 Bouquet
#4 customs/immigration officer

Cyrus Draegur March 2, 2014Reply

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 March 2, 2014Reply

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

Maia April 9, 2014Reply

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

Deryck Beliveau April 13, 2014Reply

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

Phyllis "Kay " Linn September 3, 2016Reply

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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