Until now, using emoji in parts of Android besides Hangouts could be a little tricky. Officially, the emoji keyboard was included as part of the iWnn IME, and required users to manually switch using the persistent keyboard notification which appeared any time a user tapped a text field. Even then, users couldn't enjoy the full-color emoji found in Hangouts. This was certainly less than ideal.
Thankfully, Google has spread "Emoji everywhere" with Android 4.4 KitKat, integrating the set of awesome emoji with Google Keyboard for easier access. Users can now spice up their text messages, emails, and other communiqués with fun Japanese-inspired characters and mood icons.
There's no denying KitKat has delivered a boatload of fun and interesting new features worth a quick spotlight, and we're not done yet. For Google's own high-level overview, hit the link below.
Update: If you're itching to try out the new keyboard, we've got the APK available for download here!