“Mutant egg yolks. Clippy’s deformed, inbred cousins. Lumpy, misshapen visages.”
Those are the words of Fast Company‘s very own Mark Wilson talking about Google’s longtime emoji set, also known as “the blobs,” last year. Google spent 18 months carefully redesigning the emoji, unveiling the revamped version here on Co.Design just over a year ago. Despite the protests of Android users who loved the old emoji, the blobs were history.
Or so we thought. Google is now bringing back the beloved if amorphous emoji as a sticker pack.
There were specific reasons Google redesigned its original emoji, of course. It wasn’t just that they were ugly; they also looked nothing like Apple, Microsoft, or anyone else’s emojis. This visual mismatch introduced confusion in this common graphical language–if you were an Android user, you couldn’t really be sure how an Apple user would understand your emoji, since Apple’s own versions looked quite different than the blobs. Other tweaks made the emoji more legible, and scrubbed stereotypes from some of the blobs’ designs.
The blobs lived on only in Allo, Google’s “paused” chat app, which has since been superseded by the new Google Messages built on RCS, a new messaging protocol published in 2016 by the GSMA. Today, The Verge reported that Google is bringing them back as animated sticker packs for Gboard, Google’s Android and iOS keyboard, as well as Android Messages.
The reason for this comeback, unsurprisingly, is that a lot of people wanted them back. As Mark told me today, “I was surprised after writing the story about how much people loved them.” Whatever your opinion of the much-debated amorphous blobs, at least they’re optional now.