Friday, October 28, 2016

SearchResearch Challenge (10/28/16): Finding interesting uses for unicode/emoji search?

Now that you can search for
unicode characters and emoji... 

... what are you going to do with it? 

Today's Challenge is simple, and it requires you to be slightly clever.  

Can you find interesting and useful cases when a search includes an emoji or a special Unicode character?  Say WHY you find this use case interesting.  

For instance, the "Live Long and Prosper" emoji  (🖖) could be used to find Star Trek fan posts.  Or, as I mentioned in yesterday's blogpost, the chess symbols (e.g., 

There are many useful tools for finding the emoji/extended-set characters that you'd like to use.  In addition to the ones I showed yesterday, another handy one is:
which lets you search by description, such as my search for the chess character for [queen] (to find the character of ♕).  I was surprised a bit to find out that the word "queen" also appears for other Unicode characters as well.  Here's a screen shot of the results from for [queen]  

I've seen some emojis used in advertising, which could be useful if you're looking for a place to eat 🍕 in Egypt.  (Use the Advanced Search menu to limit your searches to Egypt.)  

But my favorite example (thus far) is the query: 

     [ Ꭰ lesson ] 

now that LOOKS like a strange query, but the "D" term in the query is actually a "Ꭰ" which is the Cherokee language letter for their "a" (the vowel).  Thus, this query is actually looking for texts that have a Cherokee Ꭰ in them and are about a lesson.  In other words, this is a clever way to find texts that are written in Cherokee (or some part of them is), and is a lesson.  

By using a very common letter from the Cherokee alphabet, I'm able to find Cherokee texts using a simple Google search.  Note that there's no way to limit Google's results to only those in Cherokee, so this is a quick approximation to that function.  (Note that you could do the same trick for other languages: just pick a common letter in the other language, and search for that character--for instance, 

     [ ᖃ lesson ] 

will find information about Inuktitut (the Inuit language).  That character,  ᖃ, is reasonably common in Inuktitut.  

So what uses can you find!  

Let us know.  I'll be back next Tuesday to let you know what other ideas I come up with. 

Search on!  


  1. Hello Dr. Russell.

    This Challenge is hard. At the moment no idea of what can I find searching with Unicode/emoji.

    I like the examples you gave to us. One thing that I don't like about emojis is that many of them can't be seen in all platforms. In many cases they just look like a rectangle.

    I'll think about uses and ideas. And I am sure Remmij will share a lot.

    1. [Cherokee alphabet]

      Found the link of Wikipedia that Dr. Russell already share and read that Cherokee alphabet is technically not an alphabet at all, but a syllabary.

      Although Sequoyah was exposed to the concept of writing early in his life, he never learned the English alphabet

      and the first to read and write with the invention was his daughter, A-Yo-Ka.

      "Your invention of the alphabet is worth more to your people than two bags full of gold in the hands of every Cherokee." -Sam Houston" Source:

      [Mexican Syllabary]

      The Maya hieroglypic writing is arguably one of the most visually striking writing systems of the world. Also syllabary

      [Mexican syllabary emoji]

      Say ¡Hola! To These Awesome ‘Mexican Emojis’ No Unicode. Need to find some in Unicode if available. BTW, never been able to make it work when writing Unicode code point. That is why I prefer copy/paste

  2. "Today's Challenge is simple, and it requires you to be slightly clever."
    I am simple, but apparently not slightly clever enough…
    alas Ramón, I'm rolling snake eyes on this one, twice… ⚀⚀
    13th sign…

    … not sure about what to use this type of search for, but fairly sure I wouldn't have found this without the White Queen…
    ♕ white queen search ♕
    …"Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought"

    Red Queen search brought this… This princess emoji has no matching prince emoji.
    I was expecting this…

    1. Hello Remmij! Cherokee letters are so beautiful, glad to be able to know them thanks to Dr. Russell and you. And the Unicorn meat finding is strange. Who knows why white queen gives that. I wonder what people thinks when see that in real life. Happy weekend!

    2. The unicorn canned meat is just an ad. Don't worry, no actual unicorns were harmed in the making of this blog post.

    3. …but they are sooooo yummy!! especially the little candied ones… I think the French boulangers do them best… but there is a guy in Papua New Guinea that roasts… but I digress.
      unicorns & candy corn - could it get any better?
      c corn in many forms

      time of the season
      Nemo Magis Fortiter ("None more brave") Nemo reference from yesterday… you will have to search Illinois (SSN-786) for the connection…
      btw, fwiw – some personal ground truth from the recent past… it's good to see some of these in the flesh, shifts the context a bit…
      and the right time of year for St. George - gorgeous views - especially @ sunset, but would be cooking in summer…
      Sheets - La Mesa
      St. George arrow
      St. George - spooky
      location - the current airport is on the butte directly north - good view from the arrow

      did not take a photo of these - also in San Diego - Farallon Islands related - saw them from a similar distance, on a very clear day
      from an elevation of ~ 600', looking to the southwest… they belong to Mexico - have birds, whales, seals and a colorful past (read casino)
      … but not so much with the Great Whites… but on one of them has…Crotalus oreganus caliginis
      slither info
      Coronado Islands was surprised at how close they seemed…
      SD Union-Tribune
      in its heyday

      …and courtesy of a WI friend who was in southern IN - a corn fed aviation arrow…
      near his brother-in-law's farm, outside Shelbyville - thx D&L D…
      there is another one nearby at the local airfield… less than 10 miles away
      IN/ DD photo – with street view look too
      IN arrow info
      KGEZ airport
      more IN

    4. Good morning Dr. Russell, Remmij. About Unicorns, if they sell it, people will buy it. At least this is what happened in Are you fooled by superfoods? they created wetter, simple tap water and people believed it was healthier and better. And with extra cost.

      Couldn't find a good example for this Challenge. However, found this
      Sun-bleached wonders

    5. Good Morning! Thanks for the links and the context, Remmij! I just read these are new photos of Apollo Mission (subject of our previous Challenge) NASA Releases Apollo Moon Mission Photos: Pictures

  3. Anne and I were also stumped by this. Other than looking up a symbol and connecting that symbol with a lesson for a teacher we couldn't think of anything. We thought of searching for a hieroglyphic symbol or a character in a more pictorial language like Chinese. WE did enjoy looking at the history of emojis that remmij posted.

  4. one search…
    [searching with unicode] > videos

  5. My interest in language learning prompted me to think of emojis in terms of languages. The future of emojis as a language has always been there when we think of cave writings. Interesting article

  6. Continuing with the same thought regarding language, language learning and language history, my mind led me to think about non-alphabet languages like chinese & japanese. So I searched "chinese a system of emojis" and found another interesting article "Chinese Characters as Ancient “Emoji”"
    It mentions " In other words, many fundamental Chinese characters are the emoji that ancient Chinese people invented and used." Actually I was reading an article in Spanish and it was about how difficult it is to learn chinese compared to a alphabet language. I thought "how do we describe the chinese language & thought emojis might fit.

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