Google killed its adorable blob emoji, and it’s a huge mistake

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Google

  • Google has replaced its adorable blob emojis across its various services with a new set of emojis that are, quite frankly, boring and disappointing.
  • Google should let users keep the blob emojis if they want, as an option.

Last May, Google revealed it was ditching its adorable blob emojis for a new, cleaner set of emojis in Android Oreo.

The above tweet links to a Google blob post – excuse me, I mean blog post – which is actually just a letter to Google’s blobs telling them they need to go away for no clear reason. It’s a very sad post, mainly because it didn’t need to be written.

Over the past several weeks, users of Google’s various services, including Gmail, have finally seen the changes roll out. But Google made a huge mistake by killing its blob emoji and replacing them with these safer, cookie-cutter emojis, which you can see below.

google new emoji

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Google

Google has a lengthy Medium post on why it’s shifting from blobs to more “consistent” emoji designs, but it’s a really boring read and there’s only one relevant paragraph, which is right here:

By formalizing the shape, grid, representation, and color, we were able to unify the set while retaining expressiveness and character. By creating a strong design system we also addressed a major shortcoming in our old style, and we enabled the emoji to be created by more than one illustrator while remaining consistent, legible, understandable, and representative in any context.

Now, I’m not a designer, but I really don’t care about consistency across emojis. In fact, I prefer Google’s blob emojis – and prefer them as my default emojis in third-party apps like Slack – because they don’t feel overly-engineered.

Google’s blob emojis were one of the few Google products that felt hand-painted and unique: They’re not symmetrical or anything, but they don’t need to be. They’re just so, so cute. Isn’t that worth something?

The so-called “silver lining” Google provided is that its blobs aren’t totally going away – you can still use blob “stickers” in Google’s free Allo messaging app. But let’s be real: No one uses the Allo app, and saying blobs still exist there is a cheap draw to get people to use an unpopular app. If Google really cared about blobs, they’d make the redesigned emojis the default for Android and other Google products, but allow blobs to be an optional default. Right now, that’s not happening – and it’s a real shame.