gboardkeyboard100660745orig

Google's Gboard is a feature-packed iPhone keyboard with baked-in search capabilities

The rumors of Google building an iPhone-specific keyboard were true. On Thursday, Google revealed Gboard, a virtual keyboard designed to cut back on the amount of app-switching needed to send information to your pals.

Gboard bakes in GIF searches and emoji support to achieve that goal, but the highlight feature here is Gboard’s native Google Search integration. Tapping a prominent Google logo on the keyboard brings up a search interface, with results appearing in the form of Google’s “cards” that have key information like store hours and phone numbers highlighted. After finding the search information you need, Gboard lets you easily transfer it into the keyboard for immediate use with a single tap—no clunky app-switching or copy-pasting necessary. Sounds pretty handy-dandy.

Continuing on the ease-of-use theme, Google’s keyboard also features “Glide Typing,” which allows you to glide your fingers from letter to letter rather than taking them off your screen, with predictive results appearing at the top as Gboard guesses at what you’re trying to spit out. The Swype and Word Flow keyboards behave in a similar manner.

The story behind the story: Google makes its money by knowing as much about you as it possibly can, then shoving hyper-targeted ads in your face—but Apple’s slowly been pushing Google services out of the iPhone ecosystem. Gboard might help Google stay front and center in iPhone users’ lives if it catches on, as well as provide Google with juicy predictive typing and personal data. Plus, it’ll push more people towards web searches, a Google strength that’s all-too-often neglected in the app-crazy mobile world.

Google isn’t the only company using virtual keyboards as a Trojan horse, either. Microsoft recently brought Windows Phone’s beloved Word Flow keyboard to iOS, with an Android release planned for later this year, and also purchased the popular SwiftKey keyboard for iOS and Android. The battle for your emoji-slinging fingers is on.

IDG Insider

PREVIOUS ARTICLE

« Nest gives Thread IoT protocol group a new president and a new open-source implementation

NEXT ARTICLE

90% off Essential JavaScript Coding Course Bundle - Deal Alert »
author_image
IDG News Service

The IDG News Service is the world's leading daily source of global IT news, commentary and editorial resources. The News Service distributes content to IDG's more than 300 IT publications in more than 60 countries.

  • Mail

Recommended for You

International Women's Day: We've come a long way, but there's still an awfully long way to go

Charlotte Trueman takes a diverse look at today’s tech landscape.

Trump's trade war and the FANG bubble: Good news for Latin America?

Lewis Page gets down to business across global tech

20 Red-Hot, Pre-IPO companies to watch in 2019 B2B tech - Part 1

Martin Veitch's inside track on today’s tech trends

Poll

Do you think your smartphone is making you a workaholic?