Google is working on the next generation of emoji, which are freely available thanks to its Noto Emoji project. First off, there are 31 new emojis to catch up to Unicode 15.0 (for a total of 3,664), all of which will be available on Android soon and other Google projects early next year.
One of the biggest upgrades is the support for animation. Check out a sample below. You can also have a look at all animations currently available here – they are available to download as GIFs and video files and you can use them today.
Google is also switching to a new font format called COLRv1. These are vector images so they make for smaller font files (e.g. Twitter’s “Twemoji” icon set went down from 9MB to 1.85MB). Also, they remain sharp even when scaled up.
The COLRv1 emojis can use smooth gradients and the colors are customizable to boot. Right now colors can only be modified by the app or browser. This is a simple way for apps to bring some brand coloring to emojis and can be used for, say, quick and easy night mode emojis. Here’s a look at what’s possible.
One important limitation of the current tech is that you can’t send an emoji with custom colors. As a stopgap solution you can use the Emoji Kitchen feature of the Gboard keyboard and create custom emoji stickers that you can send instead.