What just happened? The latest Windows 11 preview release includes the introduction of a new style of emojis. After a PR campaign that started earlier this summer, Microsoft decided to resurrect Clippy as one of the new emojis.
The update introduces emojis that are supposed to be more in line with the "Fluent" design style of Windows 11. As such, they're exclusive to Windows 11. You can activate them by selecting Windows Update under Settings > Update & Security.
These are the new emojis that Microsoft teased back in October. The graphics that the Windows UK Twitter account used at the time made some believe Microsoft was planning to give its new emojis a bit of 3D depth. That turned out not to be the case, as the account later admitted its mistake, and the new emojis released this week are indeed 2D.
If this gets 20k likes, we'll replace the paperclip emoji in Microsoft 365 with Clippy. pic.twitter.com/6T8ziboguC--- Microsoft (@Microsoft) July 14, 2021
The resurrected Clippy has replaced the standard paper clip emoji. Clippy has been not much more than a meme for most of the last two decades, but people old enough to have used Microsoft Office in the late 1990s probably remember the original Office Assistant avatar that would appear to offer tips. Users back then mainly considered Clippy annoying, and the character had faded into obscurity by the Windows XP days.
In July of this year, Microsoft's main Twitter account proposed bringing Clippy back to replace its paperclip emoji if the tweet got 20,000 likes. The tweet ended up with over 173,000 likes, so Redmond went through with the change as promised.