Microsoft-owned keyboard app maker SwiftKey today launched a brand-new iOS app, this time focused on predictive emoji suggestions. Called Swiftmoji, the app runs a crowdsourced usage data algorithm to begin suggesting its users specific emoji characters when they send text messages, with the app set to eventually learn each user's preferences and recommend frequently-used emoji above those hardly ever sent in a message.
The app works by piggybacking on the written text created in Apple's -- or any other third-party's -- keyboard, showcasing a wall of emojis meant to be related to the message waiting to be sent. All users need to do is type something, tap the globe icon to switch over to Swiftmoji, and pick from the app's proposed emoji characters. SwiftKey hopes this method is a bit more streamlined in comparison to the emoji hunt that happens in Apple's first-party keyboard but, as TechCrunch noted, its predictive capabilities have room for improvement.
Testing the app out ahead of launch, the predictions seemed a tad tenuous and/or hit and miss at times. For example, typing ‘viva la France’ did indeed yield the French flag emoji as the first prediction. However the second prediction was the Italian flag. Which it’s hard to imagine being useful.
The app also lets users send an "emoji storm," which shoots out emojis from its suggestion box in a random order at the tail-end of a message, if users think sending just one or two characters isn't enough. In addition, there's a tab for frequently used emoji, and a basic, scrollable section akin to what iOS users have been used to over the past few years. Interestingly, the Android version of the app is more robust, offering quick-access emoji suggestions above a full third-party keyboard.
Due to its ability to condense vast topics down to cartoonish characters, a SwiftKey spokeswoman is also ensuring users that the company has "worked to reduce the chances of anyone using Swiftmoji to be caused offence from the emoji predictions suggested." All the same, she confirmed that SwiftKey wouldn't outright censor its users, letting everyone have "the option to use whichever emoji they like and in whatever way they like,” with truly questionable outcomes from the app advised to be reported to the company.
Anyone interested can check out Swiftmoji for free on the App Store today. [Direct Link]