Gboard's emoji mashup stickers are one of the best things about using Google's software keyboard these days. They cover a gamut from cute, to funny, to even a bit disturbing — avocado spider will haunt your dreams. Now Gboard is adding another trick that makes it even easier to use them, offering up emoji kitchen stickers contextually based on what you type. Better, the much-loved blobmoji that were retired with Android 8.0 Oreo are also back in the new Emoji Kitchen mashups.
Back in 2018, Google rolled out AI-powered non-mashup emoji suggestions for Gboard, which dynamically and contextually recommended emoji based on what you typed. For example, "this party is hot" pulls a fire emoji — you get the idea. Later, in 2020, Google officially rolled out Emoji Kitchen following a short period of experimentation, allowing you to merge two emoji together. Now, in a meta-mashup Google is extending Emoji Kitchen to take advantage of AI context recommendations as well.
Contextual suggestions for emoji mashups will appear in the side-scrolling emoji carousel based on what you type, as depicted above. Not only does that make it easier to find a good one, it may also help with discovering which combinations are even possible, if you aren't familiar with the options.
Blobmoji Emoji Kitchen examples.
Even better, though, is the return of the blobmoji (༼ つ ◕_◕ ༽つ), which appear for certain combinations when using the magic wand emoji, as expertly deduced from the GIF teaser by 9to5Google. Combinations are more limited than other emoji mash-ups, but there are quite a few to choose from.
The new contextual suggestions (and blobs!) are available in the Gboard beta starting today, with a wider rollout to stable planned this summer for English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
The blobs are back!
Google slipped a surprise into today's announcement. What we thought was just a nostalgic call-out in the GIF above using the existing Gboard blobmoji stickers was actually an indication that Google was bringing back the much-loved blobs for this feature, as Emoji Kitchen's Jennifer Daniel showed off on Twitter:
— Jennifer Daniel (@jenniferdaniel) June 15, 2021
Our coverage has been updated.