You Can Google Search Emoji Now

by Emma Cueto

Emoji are now a part of how we communicate, but now they're also a part of how we use Google — or at least, they are now. Google will now let you search emoji, making it possible to type specific emoji directly into the search bar — a sentence of which no one 20 years ago would have been able to make any sense. The question now, of course, is what even comes up when you do? The answer is... things. Lots of things. And honestly the results are pretty entertaining.

Using emoji in your Google searches works just like using words — just type an emoji into the search bar, using either your phone's emoji keyboard or by accessing your emoji keyboard from your computer. (If you're using a Mac, press Control, Option, and the space bar; for Windows 8 or 10, activate your Touch Keyboard and select emoji.)

The whole thing is pretty simple — but also pretty wacky, when you think about it. After all, search engines like Google operate by scanning for text, but emoji are not text in the traditional sense. That means that it's a whole other matter to teach a program to scan for them... and yet here we are. You can now show Google what is essentially a picture of a hamburger, and it will tell you all about it.

So what comes up when you search for emoji? Well, so far most results are about that specific emoji, like so:

So you can't just, say, use the pizza emoji as a shortcut for searching for "pizza," it seems. Interestingly, though, searching the pizza emoji does seem to turn up a selection of results that aren't just about the emoji itself:

Searching for images seems to work better for an emoji search if you're looking for something beyond just info on the emoji. Although some of them are kind of random...

... others seem pretty on point:

Oddly enough, one of the most productive Google Image searches seems to be for the eggplant emoji; it turns up an abundance of pictures of actual eggplants, which, while literally accurate, isn't really what most people use the emoji for. But, you know, OK:

Trying to search in other fields on Google, though, doesn't turn out so well. Searching for news items, for example, produces plenty of results, but they all seem pretty random:

As are results from Google's "Shopping" feature:

And trying to use emoji in GoogleMaps doesn't do anything at all. No using the pizza emoji to search for a pizza parlor, I guess:

Flag emoji also don't seem to work at all, either in Maps or in any other category:

Weird. I can't help but feel this is something of a missed opportunity.

So far, you also don't seem to be able to search both emoji and text — adding text to the search appears to cause Google to just search for the text and not the emoji:

Which seems unfortunate. After all, emoji work best when they enhance text, so not being able to use the two in conjunction seems unfair.

You also don't seem to get results from typing in two emoji at once:

Of course, it's possible — and probably actually pretty likely — that all of this will change once people start searching emoji more and Google makes adjustments to the algorithm. But in the meantime, you have a whole emoji keyboard to start playing around with. So get to typing and see what the search engine offers in return.

Images: Emma Cueto/Bustle (16)