Instagram, the photo-sharing service has made emoji hashtags searchable, following in the steps of Microsoft which added emoji search to its Bing engine.
With the explosion of mobile devices and the ubiquity of texting, emoji has become a global shorthand visual language, transcending linguistic and cultural barriers. “It is a rare privilege to observe the rise of a new language,” said Thomas Dimson, software engineer on Instagram’s data team. “Emoji are becoming a valid and near-universal method of expression in all languages.”