Pointless But Adorable: Bing’s Emoji Search

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While Google is busy rolling out the most recent Penguin update, Bing has been beavering away at something too…something a bit less serious than algorithm updates (although obviously, the lesser search engine is always working on stuff like that.)

On the 27 October, Bing started to allow searches by emoji. Why? BECAUSE KAWAII <3

What is an Emoji?

If like me, you have a mobile phone which was first released in about 1842, you probably don’t have a varied knowledge of the emoji.

Emojis started life as emoticons, which were initially used to express facial expressions using punctuation :-). Wikipedia says the oldest ones were ‘used’ in the 19th century, but the oldest ones which have been found (aside from a good number of instances which may or may not be printing errors) were published in an edition of Puck magazine in 1881, where they were clearly meant as a bit of a joke and not meant to be used in publishing.


Computer Scientist Scott Elliott Fahlman is currently credited with the first emoticon – at least within the digital world – when he suggested their use on a message board at Carnegie Mellon University in 1982.

Emojis then showed up in around 1999 for a mobile internet platform in development at the time.


From Whatsapp

Emojis are different from emoticons in that they show a picture in whole rather than a picture made of punctuation signs.

On a side note, look at what the most popular emoji is according to emojipedia.org.

top emoji


What Does Bing’s Emoji Search Do?

I was playing around with Bing’s new gimmick, and pretty much every single emoji you punch in will get a Wikipedia result. However, you can use the emojis to make up your own sentances for a query, for whatever reason…

donut search

Bing seems pretty pleased in the new functionality to use emojis to search for things, using the Contra/Konami code as an example.

konami code

Although obviously Google’s semantic search returns pretty much the same results.

konami code 2

All in all: yeah, its gimmicky. But it is pretty cute. However, given that emojis return the same results in Bing as their typed word alternatives do (at least they did when I tried it out), I wouldn’t start optimising your site with little pictures of monkeys and donuts quite yet.


Written by Sarah Chalk

Sarah Chalk

Sarah is an SEO Account Manager at 360i and has a keen interest in all things SEO. She has also written for a number of sites, including Vue cinema’s film blog and a number of tech websites.

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