Back in my day (yes, I get to say that now), we used to have to Google Search emoji and then copy and paste them into a message (MSN instant messenger anyone?) or save them to our computer and upload them into a chat box as an image instead. Needless to say, we’ve come a long way and emoji have become a cultural norm – no, a cultural standard, or requirement, even. They’ve become increasingly better at assisting in non-verbal communication, and have become very diverse since their inception.
Previously, you could right-click in a text field and select ‘Emoji’ from the contextual menu in order to begin placing them, but you would be presented with a phone-style full keyboard that would stretch across the entire width of your screen! Yeah, I know – Chromebooks never really focused on native experiences and instead largely borrowed from Android features – in this case, the Android keyboard.
Now, in Chrome OS Canary, you can enable the ‘System emoji picker’ flag via
chrome://flags/#system-emoji-picker for an entirely new and native experience! upon doing so and restarting your device, you can right-click inside of any text field and choose the same ‘Emoji’ option from the contextual menu. However, instead of being presented with the same phone-specific keyboard layout, you will instead see a self-contained box that’s more appropriate for the operating system.
What’s more, is that this new box has its own dedicated search bar for locating emoji quickly. The old design forced you to scroll through every emoji and hunt down the one you wanted using only your eyes (I know, they used to be the most reliable thing!) There’s also a ‘Recently Used’ section for, well, emoji you’ve recently fired off.
It’s incredible to see Google applying a much more personal touch to the operating system. Over the past year, Chromebooks have taken on a life of their own and have gone the extra mile to become truly unique in their own right rather than simply remaining a Frankenstein of other systems cobbled together to get by. It’s unclear when we will see the new Emoji picker experience come to all Chromebooks via the Stable channel, but we’ll continue to keep an eye on it as it progresses toward a full release.
As the company brings the OS up to speed with modern standards with things like placing the date on the shelf (now that I have it, I can’t live without it!) and innovating in other areas, it’s clear that the future for Chromebook owners is more exciting than ever before. What features do you feel are missing from Chrome OS to this day that should have been implemented long ago? Let us know in the comments section!