If you've been around computers awhile, you probably have heard the term ASCII, American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It was limited though, because it only had 256 different letters, which is fine for our alphabet and left a lot of room for accents and glyphs. But, to be practical, we needed more than 256. There are many other alphabets with non-Roman characters. So we went to Unicode, which is 16 bit instead of 8 bit, and that gives us more than 65,000 different characters. Simultaneously, as that was happening, in Japan, telephone makers there were putting emoji into their phones. The original emojis were very Japanese-centric and very limited. Over time, we've expanded, and now we have hundreds of emoji and they all have to be approved. So Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft all have to agree on how all of this is displayed so that when one person sends an emoji, another person on another operating system gets the same thing.
Emojis have expanded greatly as of late. Google lobbied hard to show more work emojis. There also needs to be two representations -- male and female -- for everything. Then we got more elaborate on skin shades. Then they added emojis for new things. 51 new emojis have been approved this week. Among the new emoji is the hijab, a breast feeding emoji, pie, pretzel, sandwich, and a lot more face emoji.