Google's new 'audio emojis' during calls sound like a terrible idea

Google Pixel 8 shown held in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It looks like Google is rolling out a brand new gimmick to the Google Phone app, with the “Audio Emoji” feature now rolling out to some users. Essentially these are emoji buttons that are present during a call, which then play stock sound and visual effects when pressed. 

Oh, and one is the poop emoji, so you can imagine what that’s going to sound like. It really makes me wonder who wants this, and why Google thought it was a good idea in the first place.

The other 5 audio emoji include Clapping, Laughing, Party, Crying and the drum. The sound is heard on both sides of the call and presumably means you can express some kind of emotion without having to actually show the other person what you’re actually feeling. 

Audio emojis in Google Phone app

(Image credit: 9to5Google)

You know, just in case you don’t want to lift your stone-faced persona, but still want to show you’re not an emotionless robot. Or because you want to constantly interrupt the call with fart sounds, because you’re that member of your friendship group.

Thankfully, 9to5Google reports that there is a cooldown between emojis, meaning you can’t just keep pressing a single button and drown out the rest of the call with obnoxious or disruptive sound effects. 

How to activate audio emoji

Activating an audio emoji can be done in one of two ways. Either through the overflow (or three dot) menu in the phone interface, or by tapping the “Audio Emojis” toggle on the call screen. You’re also able to turn off audio emojis in the settings, which I suspect is something most people will be doing after they experience the feature first hand.

Honestly, I’m not really sure why Google is doing this, or why anyone thought this would be a good idea. While I can understand the use of emoji in text messages, or video conferences where only a few people get to speak, adding them to one-on-one phone conversations seems completely redundant. 

All you need to do is use your words, and don’t make fart noises in a polite conversation. Pretty easy, really. So this is certainly a feature I can do without — and I’m sure I’m not alone

If this is the kind of feature you’re interested in, it’s rolling out to the latest version of the Google Phone beta — version 128. If and when it comes to the public version of the app isn’t clear right now, but I think it’s safe to say that this is something Google is welcome to take its time with.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.