Back in 2016, one of the changes in iOS 10 was the swapping of Apple’s realistic-looking revolver emoji with a green water gun. It’s taken a couple of years, but it seems other companies are now following in the iPhone maker’s footsteps.
Twitter replaced its pistol emoji with a water gun just a few days ago. The icon had been a popular way for the platform’s many trolls to harass and threaten people, so the change wasn’t too surprising, though Twitter said it was made in the interests of “consistency.” Samsung made the same switch in the Samsung 9.0 update earlier this year.
Now, Google has updated its Noto Color Emoji repository with a new design, according to Emojipedia. The company’s pistol emoji, which has changed several times over the years but always resembled an actual gun, has turned into what looks like a super soaker, complete with bright orange/yellow colors and a water reservoir.
Apple had been under pressure from campaigners when it changed its gun emoji, though it never said if the decision was a reaction to organizations such as New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, which sent an open letter asking for the revolver to be removed. Companies make the change to avoid cross-platform communication issues: sending a toy gun emoji in a message and having it shows up as a real gun on a different platform could cause problems.
The only two major companies still using the pistol emoji are Microsoft and Facebook, though the social network confirmed to Emojipedia that it would also be replacing it with a water gun. Microsoft, which had used a toy ray gun before switching to a realistic-looking weapon in 2016, declined to comment.
Expect Google’s new emoji design to arrive with the launch of Android P later this year.