Back in 2016 with iOS 10, Apple changed their gun emoji to a water pistol. They received some criticism and the move was not widely adopted. Until now. Google changes their gun emoji to a water pistol in the upcoming version of Android.
In line with Google’s other modern emoji, there is a fine attention to detail. Interestingly, the preceding version of the emoji was just revamped in 2017, with the prior version in use for three years. Before that Google used a musket, while in 2012 Google used the generic outline of a modern handgun.
As Emojipedia notes, Google — following Apple’s decision in 2016 — was cautious about changing, citing a desire to maintain “cross-platform communication.” However the landscape in 2018 has changed with Twitter and later Samsung on the Galaxy S9 switching to a water pistol.
Given the momentum, it makes sense Google to follow along to ensure that communication across platforms is consistent. The new design should be adopted system-wide with the launch of Android Plater this fall.