If you’ve ever had a difficult time coming up with the right words to search for your favorite YouTube video, you’ll likely find relief with Emoji2Video and its new search engine. The search engine, created by University of Amsterdam researchers and Qualcomm Research, allows you to search with an emoji, and according to Mashable, gives “a dense, easy-to-understand representation of what’s happening in images and videos.” Or, you can basically search according to how you feel regardless of the language you speak, or whether you can read or spell.
What began as simple smileys created with punctuation marks has evolved into the emoji icons of today and is one of the most popular forms of expression. Earlier this year, The Next Web noted that 74 percent of people in the U.S. use emoji (or its relatives, stickers and emoticons) to communicate online, totaling approximately six billion emoji being sent every day. A large part of the icon’s popularity is attributed to its ease and simplicity, narrowing responses from “I’m happy,” to just happy face emoji. In addition to convenience, however, emoji are one of the primary ways to express empathy and emotion online, especially when communicating with people who speak languages different than our own.
Although the ability to express emotions while searching for a particular video might seem a little useless, the emoji search engine can be helpful in finding exactly what you need, quickly. Users can select one or more emoji from a list of over a thousand, which are then used to search over 45,000 YouTube videos. For example, if you select the chicken emoji plus the grinning emoji, the search engine leads you to a video of a grinning chicken.
While innovative, and slightly entertaining, the emoji search engine isn’t the first to allow users to search via happy face or pizza slice. In the past, Bing and Yelp have both accepted emoji searches. However, Emoji2Video focuses specifically on images and videos and may help you find the video you’re looking for with that baseball emoji, faster than if you used your favorite search engine and simply typed in “baseball.” If not, it’s at least a little more fun than the standard search engine.