In Android 5.0, the default keyboard looks substantially different from how it has looked largely since the days of Ice Cream Sandwich. The new out-of-the-box method of typing comes with a flatter theme that supplies a stark new feel. At the end of the day, though, it's still used primary to punch in letters onto the screen, and there's nothing particularly exciting to share there. One change we would like to highlight though is the addition of new emoji.
Google hasn't completely redone the full collection of smiley faces and other icons, but it has taken this time to alter some of its previous work. While most of the emoji were already yellow, certain icons depicting a baby, boy, girl, couple, and various other people utilized a pale skin tone. Rather than going down the more difficult and inefficient road of producing enough icons to account for racial diversity, Google has tweaked them to make the images look less human and more like the yellow, abstract representations of people we've come to expect from emoji.
Some emoji don't appear to be colored in yet, such as the biceps, eyeballs, ears, and nose in the second screenshot above, all body parts that were shaded with a light skin tone in the previous version of the keyboard. There's a chance Google will flesh these out, in a way, before the keyboard rolls out to the broader userbase. Or this may just be how it has decided to alter those images going forward, as the older keyboard already includes a few similar white and pink emoji.
From a consistency standpoint, it just makes sense to keep emoji yellow when the first few pages are already in that tone. And personally, since the olden days of desktop instant messengers, I've been more than willing to accept a world where all people are yellow and other colors are reserved for everything else.
Thanks Ben, Cassidy, and Gabriel!