Bing Tests Emoji Keyboard

Bing is already one of the few search engines that allows emoji searches, and now it’s testing a full emoji keyboard.

Rubén Gómez first mentioned the keyboard yesterday on the All Google Testing blog. He posted an instructional video and included a code users can write in the development consoles of Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Andrew LaForge – founder of Fotobom, a company that specializes in photo-editing tools, and creator of the new YourMoji custom emoji app – thinks doing things around the wildly-popular emoji is a way for Microsoft to stand out. He refers to the fact that this week’s Windows update included a middle finger emoji.

“Not only did they do it, but [Microsoft] really highlighted that they [made the middle finger],” LaForge says. “They’re trying to get aboard the hype of emojis and be the cool guys again. I think Microsoft knows this might give them a shot of reaching the younger generation.”

Of the top five most popular search engines, Yahoo is the only other one that has an emoji-search capability; Ask.com and AOL do not. Google did emoji searches, though the practice was discontinued a few months back.

But while LaForge thinks emojis will help Bing get out from Google’s shadow, Vivian Rosenthal, founder of branded emoji keyboard company Snaps, says that Bing simply sees where the future of communication is heading.

“There’s this idea that visual content is universal and transcends language; it’s like, a picture is worth a thousand words,” Rosenthal says. “People are so drawn to emojis because you can capture a lot in very little time.”

It’s hard to predict the level of engagement Bing will see from this keyboard, as it hasn’t even been (and may not ever be) released. Still, Rosenthal can see other search engines doing something similar down the line.

“There are 80 billion text messages sent a day and a huge percentage of them include an emoji; if I’m Bing, why wouldn’t I let people search and communicate visually, rather than just through our standard language?” she says. “It seems like it would behoove them to pay attention to what people want.”

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