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It seems that when it comes to gun emojis, Microsoft didn’t want to be left out. Soon after it was revealed that Google is set to become the latest firm to swap its pistol emoji for a water gun, the Redmond firm announced the same change is coming to Windows 10.
Google updated its Noto Color Emoji repository with a new gun design yesterday. While its icon has changed several times over the years, it’s always looked like an actual weapon—albeit a very old one in 2013. In Android P, however, the emoji will resemble a super soaker water pistol, complete with water reservoir.
The change left Facebook and Microsoft as the only two major companies still using a realistic-looking gun emoji. And although the social network had confirmed it was replacing its design with that of a water pistol, Microsoft had declined to comment. But it didn’t take the Redmond firm long to get with the program.
In a tweet posted yesterday, Microsoft wrote: “We are in the process of evolving our emojis to reflect our values and the feedback we’ve received.” It included a preview of the new handgun icon, which now looks like a smaller version of Google's super soaker emoji.
We are in the process of evolving our emojis to reflect our values and the feedback we’ve received. Here’s a preview: pic.twitter.com/BlB3yYTSht— Microsoft (@Microsoft) April 25, 2018
Somewhat ironically, Microsoft had started out with a toy ray gun emoji before switching to a realistic-looking weapon in 2016—a time when they appeared on almost every platform. Since then, everyone from WhatsApp to Samsung to Twitter has moved to water pistols.
It was Apple that first made the switch to a water pistol emoji two years ago, following pressure from campaigners such as New Yorkers Against Gun Violence. But companies tend to make the change in the interest of consistency and to avoid cross-platform confusion—sending a water pistol and have it appear as a gun isn't something people want.
It’s not clear exactly when Microsoft’s change will come to Windows 10, though it could happen with the Redstone 4 update, which may take place next month.