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Stickers and emoticons make a comeback on chat apps

Stickers and emoticons are making chat apps cool again
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First Published: Tue, Jul 09 2013. 07 03 PM IST
(From left) Smileys for Chat (memes, emoji), MySticker and Emojidom
(From left) Smileys for Chat (memes, emoji), MySticker and Emojidom
Updated: Tue, Jul 09 2013. 07 12 PM IST
In the future, there will be no more words. If you’ve been vexed by people who type in “ur” instead of “you are”, and feel confused with acronyms more uncommon than LOL (laugh out loud) in your messages inbox, then you’re behind the times. Because these days, a picture of a puppy chasing its tail seems to convey a lot more feeling, if you look at the excitement generated by Facebook’s new stickers—small comic pictures that you can insert into chat messages.
Companies are already latching on to the popularity of Facebook’s stickers as well—Despicable Me 2 already has stickers on Facebook chat, so you can send a minion to your friend instead of having to use words.
You can trace all this back to smileys—the face in the “:)” is impossible to un-see once you’ve gotten used to it. It’s more than a generation old now, but these emoticons evolved gradually, from simple faces to full-sized images, stopping over briefly in Japan to emerge as emoji, complex but small images which became incredibly popular there.
The stickers Facebook rolled out for its mobile apps are so popular that it launched a Web version less than a month later, and today, messaging apps boast of their sticker collection, and let you buy emoji sets.
There are also some free apps that let you increase the number of emoji as well.
So which free apps let you do this?
Smileys for Chat (memes, emoji)
Available for: Android
Do not get taken in by the name of this app, for beneath that title lurk more than just dozens of memes and emoji stickers. There are stickers of rage faces, stickers based on TV series like ‘South Park’ and ‘Mr Bean’ and random pictures, and those from the LOLCat series (a series of pictures with cats accompanied by hilarious captions). Opting for the Pro version (Rs.99.95) will let you add text to your stickers and even throw in Instagram-like effects using filters, but even without it, you have over 400 stickers that can be used easily with most chat services—it is as simple as attaching an image to your chat.
Emojidom
Available for: Android, iTunes
There are many who swear by the Japanese emoji when it comes to chat stickers and for them, this is pretty much the app to have, as it comes with more than a thousand emoji and smileys to choose from in 13 categories. You can send emoji to different apps with a message from the Emojidom app itself or just attach the emoji of your choice to a conversation on your chat app of choice. And if you get tired of emoji (it has been known to happen), well, you can even convert a picture of yours into an emoji and send it across. When we last checked, the app worked just fine with most popular chat apps such as WhatsApp, LINE and Facebook Messenger.
My Chat Sticker
Available for: Android
The app claims to serve up more than 500 unique stickers which can work with most popular messaging apps like LINE, WhatsApp, KakaoTalk and WeChat Messenger. And if you don’t like the offerings that Facebook has in this department, you can use them with Facebook Messenger as well. Stickers are divided into 10 categories (cute, encourage, happy, love, etc.) and using them is as easy as selecting the sticker and the service to which you want to send it. There’s plenty to choose from here, especially for emoji fans.
Facebook Messenger
Available for: Android, iTunes, PC
One of the oldest entries on this list, Facebook Messenger got a big refresh recently with the launch of Facebook Home. The results have been some major changes to the interface, and the addition of Chat Heads, which make chats function in a much more useful fashion—instead of having to launch a separate app to send a two-line reply to friends, you get a notification on top of whatever app you happen to be using.
The addition of stickers—first of popular online characters such as Pusheen and Bun, and then others that you can download, such as the characters from ‘Despicable Me 2’—brings a light and colourful touch to Facebook Messenger, and makes it far more appealing than it’s ever been.
WhatsApp Messenger
Available for: Android, iTunes, BlackBerry, Windows Phone
Probably the most well-known chat app, WhatsApp has definitely upset the existing chat business, since it’s easy to find people you know, set up group chats, and get receipts.
The app also comes with an impressive array of emoji, ranging from happy and sad faces to things like aeroplanes and cars, and even flags of different countries. And you can download more if you want.
The emoji are small and simple, so unlike the larger stickers, these can be delivered without using up a lot of mobile data, or slowing the conversation. And what they lack in artistic detail, they make up for in sheer range.
WeChat
Available for: Android, iTunes, BlackBerry, Windows Phone
WeChat is, thanks to an aggressive marketing campaign, getting pretty well known too. It’s pretty similar to WhatsApp, though some would argue that it has a more polished interface.
With features ranging from group chats with QR codes people can scan and join, to Web support and location-based services to find nearby friends, WeChat actually offers a lot of features and its emoticons are also pretty cool. The app comes with a huge range of emoji, which are slightly larger than the WhatsApp version. The effect is cleaner and more cartoon-like, but not as huge or artistic as the Facebook Stickers. You can also download more or make some from your camera roll folder if you prefer.
MySticker
Available for: Android, iOS
This is the option for creative types who are not content with the readymade stickers served up by apps, and would rather make the stickers themselves. This very handy app lets you do that, allowing you to create stickers out of the pictures and photographs that you have and even combining pictures to add animation effects to them. The app itself is free but there is a catch—you can use the stickers you make only with the MyPeople Messenger app, which is free and comes with more than 400 stickers of its own. A bit restrictive, definitely, but then paradoxically, that is the price you pay for creative sticker freedom.
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First Published: Tue, Jul 09 2013. 07 03 PM IST
More Topics: stickers | emoji | chat | messenger | WhatsApp |
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