A lot of thinking went into the design for the poop emoji.
On iPhones, iPads, and Macs, the “poop” emoji looks like this:
It’s practically a cultural icon at this point.
But on Windows, it looks like this:
Note the lack of a smile.
It turns out there’s actually a really good reason for this, as shared on Twitter by Microsoft Edge browser engineer Jacob Rossi.
Google, Apple, and Microsoft all adhere to an industry standard called “Unicode,” which sets the rules for how text is expressed on computing devices all over the world. Unicode also oversees the decision for what does and doesn’t get to be an emoji.
It’s because of Unicode that you can see emoji no matter what device you’re texting or messaging from. So long as it supports Unicode, you’ll see an emoji.
But it’s up to each individual company to decide what those emoji look like. Unicode says that “poop” is an official emoji, but it’s up to the Apples and Microsofts of the world to decide what “poop” looks like in their slice of the world.
Apple decided to implement it as the “lucky golden poo,” a Japanese concept indicating good luck. But the official Unicode description calls for “a pile of faeces” (seriously).
This meant Microsoft had a decision to make. Do they make their poop happier, or adhere to the strict Unicode definition?
According to this internal Microsoft email shared by Rossi, they chose the latter, bringing it as close to the Unicode definition as it could (and trying to ignore its “unfortunate” resemblance to the ice cream soft serve emoji):
Here’s the Microsoft soft-serve emoji, if you’re curious. They chose chocolate because it showed better.
Interestingly, Google went with a version with vapors and flies, also bucking the Unicode definition for Android and Chrome OS:
Meanwhile, Twitter followed Apple’s lead with a very happy poop emoji:
It just goes to show you the thinking and the arguments that go into every little thing you do in your digital life. It also explains why an iOS user’s happy poop is an Android user’s steaming pile of faeces.