Google Image Search is a fantastic tool that brings us thousands of relevant (though not necessarily copyright-free) pictures corresponding to whatever text we feed into it, but why should it stop there?
Why can’t we give Google an image, and ask it to find more images of whatever the image is an image of?
Earlier this week, CNET.com reported that we now can. As well as providing results for words, the search engine will now do its stuff on emojis – those little smiley faces, gestures and other pictorial odds and ends that we can use in text messaging and online conversations.
I decided to take this for a spin by running a few popular emojis through Google, starting with the classic smiley face:
This presented me with a smorgasbord of images, most of which are connected in some way to teeth, smiling and general happiness.
Speaking of happiness, I wonder what happens if we Image Search for the emoji representing a pint of beer? Here’s what came up:
All in all, you could waste a lot of time Googling a variety of emojis and checking out how the search engine is interpreting them.
But what’s the point?
Perhaps the main purpose to this little gimmick is that it could help you to identify an emoji you see or receive if you’re not sure what it is. For example, let’s imagine that you’re completely stumped by this one:
Yes, you know it’s a leaf, but what type of leaf is it and what does it represent? With most questions, you can use Google to find an answer, but how would you ask in text for an identification of that leaf? Well, now you don’t need to – you can just Google the emoji.
The first page of brings up several results identifying it as a maple leaf. Using Image Search, we can see what a real maple leaf looks like:
On the top row, second from the left is a picture of a girl holding a flag. If we click on it, we’ll soon discover that it’s the flag of Canada, and that the maple leaf is the country’s national symbol.
You may have a similar issue with any of the below symbols:
If you don’t know what these represent, it would be hard to describe them to another person, let alone a search engine, without showing a picture. Googling any of these emojis, however, will now tell you what they mean.
The function could also be useful for people who are simply too lazy to type, especially using mobile search, and would prefer to search for the centipede emoji, for example, rather than type and correctly spell the word ‘centipede’. It may also be beneficial for those trying to cheat at the game Emoji Pop.
Overall though, this is just a bit of fun and an interesting distraction, and the internet already offers plenty of both of them. Remember, however, that emojis are not a gimmick, but something used by 92% of the online population, so don’t neglect them in your online and social media campaign.