It wouldn't be World Emoji Day without an update from Google on its next Android emoji, and there will be plenty of updates to the special characters for Android 12. Google has previewed updates to "hundreds" of characters for the new OS that will also make them more accessible across apps and platforms. In many cases, they're simply more thoughtful — they don't make quite so many presumptions about you or the context of using a given emoji.
To start, there's a more 'universal' pie instead of the pumpkin pie from before (where was this for Android 9?). The bikini emoji doesn't look like it's being worn. Food emoji like the croissant and shrimp look like they've been cooked properly. The camping tent emoji cleverly reflects day or night depending on your OS theme. And the mask emoji no longer looks like a sick person — it's a pandemic-era acknowledgment that wearing a mask shows kindness and respect.
You'll also see emoji that are more functional and easier to read, such as a more realistic motorway character and larger vehicles.
You'll have an easier time using the new emoji, too. From Android 12 onward, apps that support Google's Appcompat will always support the latest emoji without requiring separate updates. Better emoji functionality is also coming to many of Google's platforms, including consistent support in Gmail this July, a new emoji picker in Chrome OS the same month and improved functionality in YouTube chats later in 2021. All told, you won't have to worry so much about missing emoji or other challenges expressing yourself.