Following the lead of several other big tech companies, including Apple, Samsung, and Twitter, Google has changed the gun emoji on its platform to a water pistol.
According to Emojipedia, the update is rolling out to Android devices now. Apple in 2016 became the first company to swap out its gun emoji for a toy version while Samsung and Twitter both did so this year. Facebook-owned WhatsApp released its own batch of emojis last year and, taking cues from Apple, included a squirt gun instead of a weapon from the start.
Google's decision may be seen as a political statement, but Emojipedia says the change is likely intended to "minimize cross-platform confusion." The site pointed to a 2016 statement from Google Product Manager Agustin Fonts who, when questioned about whether Google planned to follow Apple's lead on the gun emoji, said the Web giant wants its characters to be "as compatible with other systems as possible."
Now, Facebook is also planning to replace the gun emoji with a toy on its platforms to avoid "a scenario where a user may pick a toy gun from their native emoji keyboard on Apple, Google or Samsung devices, and have it show as a weapon" on the social network, Emojipedia reported. It's unclear whether Microsoft plans to follow.
Meanwhile, this isn't the first time Google has redesigned a controversial emoji. On a less serious note, the company last year fixed its cheeseburger emoji after someone pointed out that the cheese was placed below the patty. Most commenters – and eventually Google itself – agreed that the cheese unequivocally belongs on top of the patty, not below it.