From the laughing face to the peach butt and smiling pile of feces, emojis fill in for the intonation and facial expressions left out by communicating in text. But where do emojis come from? Who determines why there’s a peach but no grapefruit, or why there are same-sex families, but no big families? Natalia Lin was celebrating the Chinese New Year in 2015 when she realized, despite the thousands of emojis available, there was none to represent the holiday, a major event in the Chinese culture as well as other areas around the world. Despite an estimated 850 million smartphone users in the country, Lin realized that the Chinese culture was not well represented among emoticons. The realization is one that set the spark to the firecracker emoji (to be pun-y), as well as two other major Chinese cultural symbols. For Lin, creating emojis to fill the cultural gap seemed a logical next step. That’s because Lin works as the Project Manager for Facemoji Keyboard at Baidu, a China-based company that’s among the largest internet companies in the world. Facemoji (iOS and Android) is a predictive, A.I.-based emoji app that’s also loved for its ability to create emoji combinations, with… Read full this story
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