01
Nov
q (2)

The goodies from Android 4.4 continue to trickle out even before the Nexus 5 reaches buyers. This time it's the updated Google Keyboard (v2.0), and you can install it right now over top of the old version. This updated keyboard adds a feature that will be familiar to anyone who has spent time with SwiftKey recently.

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The first thing you'll notice with the new keyboard is that the swiping trail is now white instead of Holo-blue. When you're swiping to spell a word, the Google Keyboard uses so-called "space-aware gestures" so you don't have to lift your finger in between words. It's very much like SwiftKey's Flow implementation. Just drag down to the space bar after each word and keep going. We previously spotted this feature in an APK teardown a few months back.

You can grab the APK below and take it for a spin if you like. Initial impressions are that it works pretty well, but might not be as accurate as swiping each word individually.

Update: The updated keyboard also appears to have emoji built-in. Just Long-press the enter/search/etc key to select emoji. Some apps will replace the button with the emoji smiley automatically as well. Unfortunately, if you don't have Android 4.4, you will see an incomplete black and white set, like so:

Screenshot_2013-11-01-10-02-35

On a 4.4 ROM the emoji look much different. They have the same colorful design shown in the Google press images.

Screenshot_2013-11-01-09-02-27 Screenshot_2013-11-01-09-02-33 Screenshot_2013-11-01-09-02-36 Screenshot_2013-11-01-09-02-43 Screenshot_2013-11-01-09-02-55

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

  • Cory Hanes

    Ryan, if I install some of these APK's over my current... When the OTA update is pushed out, will i still be asked to update all un-updated services? Also, when I install the camera.apk I end up have two applications... Same as GoogleHome.apk

    If I was to leave these apk's installed, once the OTA update is pushed, will the system automatically rid itself of the old apps or merge them?

    Should these APK's be installing as updates? It's only the Camera and Launcher that seem to be separate applications.

    Thank you.

    • Cory Hanes

      Anyone else know too?

    • Ryan Callihan

      When the OTA comes it should get rid of all your old stuff like the old Camera.apk and old Launcher.apk, so yeah. You're fine. I haven't tried the Camera, but the Launcher itself is a brand new app so yeah, it's completely separate and it should be that way. Just set it as your default home and you're golden.

      • Cory Hanes

        Thank you!

      • Cory Hanes

        New launcher defaulted by itself on install. Great. Also disabled my old Gallery and am having no problems. Thank you Ryan Callihan!

        All apk's have been installed and all running perfect.

        Just waiting on the OTA update to finalize and im basically running 4.4. Loving it all. One question... How do you add a new home screen page...

        • Ryan Callihan

          No problem, buddy. To add a new page to your homescreen you have to drag an app to the right of your default homescreen. You can't have home pages to the left anymore because of Google Now.

          • Cory Hanes

            Sweet, thank you. Also, do you know if the notification bar changes to see-through once KitKat build is released? The notification bar and bottom buttons are still black with new GEL.

          • Ryan Callihan

            Transparency is strictly a feature of 4.4. You'll get it on your device when it comes out, I played with 4.4 on my N7 last night and the status bar and nav bar were transparent. I went back to 4.3 because it wasn't stable though :/

          • Cory Hanes

            Perfect, thank you for all your help. :)

          • ddpacino

            I actually like the new homescreens this way. Unlimited, I believe, and you can press and hold and rearrange them.

    • Ramacher

      Installing the apk will not affect an OTA update if that's what you're asking.

      The new camera is standalone (previous was bundled with gallery app hence you have a second camera app now).

      This keyboard apk can be installed as updates.

      • gspida

        two questions
        1 Do you get two gallery apps also? (It really messes with auto uploads)
        2 Does the camera app have the ability to pause video when shooting? (like samsung camera)

        • Ramacher

          No other gallery and no pause during video, but tap when during video to take a picture..

          • gspida

            Thanks. I can't give up the pause function though. On the G2 it has the pause funtion.

    • gspida

      Where did you get these apk's? Specifically googlehome and camera?

  • MotoXYZ

    RIP Holo Blue, I will always remember you fondly. I remember the day we first met when I got my XOOM, we had some fun times.

    • spearman792

      I wonder if Cyanogenmod will keep using cyan for the status bar like in its pre-ICS days. That "holo blue" was "cyanogenmod blue" long before ICS ever came out

      • gtg465x

        What? I'm pretty sure stock CM 7 (Gingerbread) used green in the status bar. I don't think those colors were ever different from stock Android by default unless you switched to the cyan theme.

        • spearman792

          Really? Was the cyan theme at least included with the ROM? It was quite a while ago, so my memory is a little fuzzy I guess haha

          • navjot

            Yeah you're right, the cyan theme was an option but the default gingerbread theme was green and white. Although, cyanogenmod may have had the cyan theme set as the default theme when you installed it, I don't exactly remember.

          • Jase Mase

            They didn't use Cyan because of the color. I had CM all the way back to Cupcake when Android was all green or had that white status bar with black text.

  • Muhammad Najmi Mohd Amir

    how about the emoji's ??

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, they're there too.

  • Zak Taccardi

    I really wish I could use the Google keyboard, but it lacks 3 really important things that Swype has.

    -Double letter gesture
    -Select all/copy/cut/paste gestures
    -apostrophe is traceable

    • thartist

      '-Select all/copy/cut/paste gestures'

      Killer feature, that's what i miss the most when i try to use android's keyboard.

    • abobobilly

      The biggest let down in Google Keyboard for me is the ability to show ONLY THREE words as Suggestions. They should add the Dynamic "slideable" list just like it is in Swype.

      Swype is the DAD of all the keyboards out there for a very good reason.

      Unfortunately i am stuck with Google keyboard because my device being really low end (poor i9000), because other keyboards suck off a huge chunk of memory (including Swype).

      • My name is….

        95% of the suggested words usually is in the first 3 words.
        It would be better to delete and swipe again more patiently than sliding the list JUST in case i found my word.

        PS
        swype aint got shit on swiftkey

        • abobobilly

          No they aren't.

          • My name is….

            STATS
            they disagree with you

          • abobobilly

            Fuck the stats. Stats are not "My Experience".

          • pfmiller

            95% of stats are completely made up. What research have you done to validate these findings about the accuracy of the Google Keyboard?

          • My name is….

            personal.

          • andy_o

            Data? Graphs?

      • Zak Taccardi

        yeah. Swype seems to be not the most effeciently programmed keyboard out there, but that functionality..

        Swype needs some Project Svelte!

        • abobobilly

          Still better than Flow and SlideIT i'd say. But its becoming a bit too resource hungry these days.

      • MrJamesBrown

        Long press on the middle suggestion gives more suggestions!

        • abobobilly

          I know that. But do you honestly believe it to be most efficient?

          First, it doesn't let me swipe "Fuck" when i want, and if i do ... the suggestion is ALWAYS hidden DEEP inside that middle suggested word.

          And then its biggest let down, that i have to be like 99% accurate in swiping a word and if i miss the first letter or any letter inbetween, it simply won't show the suggestion in the first 3 letters, and chances are high it won't even show them in the middle suggested word.

          Anyway, i am not here to pick on Google Keyboard because i have been using it ever since it came out (previously AOSP keyboard, and before that have used almost ALL the keyboards ever existed out there).

          I switch between numerous keyboards for a change of taste. Google Keyboard might be one of the best stock keyboards out there, but it certainly have got quite a few annoying (at times agonizing) issues.

          • MrJamesBrown

            Well mine let's me swipe fuck and cunt, you just can't be a foul mouthed as me ;]

          • abobobilly

            Its not about being foul mouthed. Lets say i am swiping "that was f*cking/frigging hilarous" ... and i have ALWAYS stopped at those words because it thinks i am trying to swipe "duck" ...

            Anyway, how can you swipe them? :S I didn't find any setting for that. The only setting i did find was for Google Now's voice which i have already turned off.

          • puch0021

            Add your word to the custom dictionary. I have no problem typing f*ucking at all.

          • abobobilly

            You sir, are wonderful. So is this kind of a loophole? Because as soon as i added (fuck, shit, cunt etc) in my personal dictionary, it lets me swipe them without interfering. :S Previously, it was like ... a PG13 version of Google Keyboad with "fuck" or others being present in the middle suggestion, but not infront of me.

      • Jeffrey Michaud

        Press and hold on any of the suggestions to get a full list

    • Paul_Werner

      You can trace the apostrophe or any other special character if you start from the "?123" and slide your thumb to the character. Not sure if that's the same why you'd do it on Swype, it's been a long time since I've used that

    • Larizard

      Also swipe from the Period key to other punctuation marks.. i miss that from SwiftKey

  • Mkvarner

    Artem, do you know anything more about Google Play Devices to Norway than this?
    https://plus.google.com/+ArtemRussakovskii/posts/eQtDjPRKhkd

    • Santeri

      And that is a great question. How about Finland? Artem?

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        I don't.

  • Ryan Callihan

    It looks like they moved around the punctuation on the number side of the keyboard as well.

    • Nicklas

      They've split it, maybe? I remember only having one punctation button on the right side, now there's one on each side.

      • Ryan Callihan

        yeah, something like that haha. I went to put a comma and I put in an underscore. Weird.

        • Narstyle

          This is so frustrating!

          • ash

            That can be changed in settings afaik

          • Chaos Soup

            where? I can't find it and it's driving me bonkers.

  • philnolan3d

    With Android now fully supporting emoji I hope SwiftKey follows suit.

  • rml hdr

    is there a way to get the emoji font as well?

  • Arthur Dent

    Why doesn't the Google keyboard have long press letters to get different punctuation? I recall being able to long press M for example to get a question mark when I was running CM, but I don't know if the CM team had modified their keyboard?

    • EeZeEpEe

      It's because they decided to implement a gesture to get symbols instead.

      • Arthur Dent

        Crap, I didn't even know that. Just Googled it and tried it out. Thanks!

  • Luis G

    I only see a few emoji, and none of the expressions or cool stuff, i se it in the hangouts app but not in the keyboard, is it possible it requires the new google play services?

    • Emo G

      enable in options

    • Kcls

      It only includes the ones your phone supports. System wide emojis come in 4.4. I have the same problem.

  • shane

    How do you install the download?

    • anon

      open the apk from any file explorer app

    • philnolan3d

      If you download using your phone you should be able to install it right from the notification pull down. Just tap it when the download finishes. You may need to enable Unknown Sources under Settings > Security. This allows apps from places besides the Play store.

  • andrew torres

    does this work well on the nexus 4?

    • Ramacher

      Yes running great on mine with aokp 4.3.1

  • Zak Taccardi

    Someone please tell me you can disable space gestures.....when using SwiftKey it screws me up so many times.

  • Michael Pahl

    I do miss the top row of numbers the Samsung keyboard has. With a 5" screen they fit just fine.

  • Scott

    Yeah this APK doesn't work right on the nexus 4....

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      I have 4.4 on my N4 now so I can't check, but you may need to freeze the current Google keyboard on your device first.

      • Scott

        I never had google keyboard installed before

  • anzensepp1987

    I can't install it. Neither on my N4 nor on my N7 (2013). I just cannot press "install" during the installation-process...

    • Ramacher

      Do you have any screen dimming/brightness apps installed? Any app that effectively acts like an overlay on the screen? Disable those if you do an you should be able to tap install.

      • anzensepp1987

        Okay. Will try this and disable Twilight!
        EDIT: Worked! Thank you so much!

  • Karan O

    My Emojis are BLACK and WHITE and not like kitkat page in android page! SO ... any help!?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Once you press them, they should get colorful. The selector is indeed BW for some reason.

      • Karan O

        Oh now i see it it must be a bug and it also crashed after i hold backspace 2BUG REPORTS IN A MINUTE! 2XCOMBO!

      • Scott

        the emojis that are available are very, very weak. I can get way better using keyboards from the play store...

        • Mike Hussion

          You're not running 4.4. Once you are on 4.4 the emoji will change to reflect Google's suite of new emoji from Hangouts.

          • Karan O

            so 4.4 only ?! thanks for heads up !

            one question : There are AOSP 4.4 for nexus 7 2013 (FLO) right now are they BUGLESS ?! should install them?! i really want to play with 4.4

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            There's no such thing as BUGLESS anything.

          • Karan O

            i know but i mean stable for daily use and no reboots every damn day or hour! TNX for replies!

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I have it on my Nexus 4, and so far I've seen a few background crashes, specifically Calendar (though it runs fine on its own). Otherwise, it looks pretty damn stable to me. I had 3 background crashes total - 2 Calendar and 1 I think Search.

          • Karan O

            oh i see ! so i must give it a shot then ! TNX for your replies, so much appreciated !

      • Floris

        These are colorful because those are the facebook ones (which are similar to the Apple emoji). The black / white ones Karan O talks about are the included Android 4.1-4.3 emoji. They appear on those android versions when adding from the new Google Keyboard. I believe Google updated them in 4.4 to match the Hangouts emoji

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Yeah, you're right, I figured this out now. That was confusing the crap out of me.

    • Mike Hussion

      Karan: You're not running 4.4. Once you are on 4.4 the emoji will change to reflect Google's suite of new emoji from Hangouts.

  • Scott

    This is what the keyboard looks like on my nexus 4

    • Scott

      Figured out the problem. I was using a cyanogenmod theme.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      You mean 1.1? It doesn't have space aware swiping, nor does it have Emoji on long-pressing the Enter key.

  • Yam Borodetsky

    Note this, when your'e on 4.4 the Emoji looks like Hangout's, otherwise it will look as limited as the screenshot in the article.

  • Peter Nguyen

    gonna give this a try. but touchpalx has been pretty amazing so far

  • jamesfuston

    Installed on my AT&T One, doesn't show any autocorrect options. Enabled in settings but no dice. Back to Swiftkey.

  • Scott

    How do I get access to all the emojis shown in this image from google?

    • walla

      I'm pretty sure you need kitkat

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yeah, you need 4.4 for this. We've updated the story to reflect it and the screenshots from there.

      • mrsbelpit

        I'm wondering if they are going to show up in color on Instagram now? My N5 arrives monday, so I suppose I can wait, but do you know?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Sorry, don't use Instagram.

          • Abdulrahman Ali

            so can we see them in the system with color or only the color inside the keyboard and black and white in the applications. like for example can we see them in twitter or any 3rd part applications?

    • GraveUypo

      yeah i can't wait till messages look like a 13yo girl's myspace page.

  • Oobiewan

    i have tried typing "how are you" that way, and i succeeded 0/10...

  • Cory Hanes

    Currently have all available apk's (AP + DL) installed on Nexus 4. Everything is working seamlessly. Thank you to all the hard work you folks put into making these available.

    Cheers.

  • Anthony

    Also got it on my Nexus 4, installed fine, but does not have any actual full-color emoji.

    • Mike Hussion

      It's because you are still on 4.3. Once you are on 4.4 the emoji will change.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        This is correct.

  • David Fleck

    I have installed the new Hangouts and new Keyboard (among others) on my HTC EVO 4G LTE running CM 10.2. I have not been able to get emojis to work when sending an SMS through Hangouts with the new keyboard to an iPhone. Also sent through stock messaging app, emoji shows up as the black squares on friend's iPhone.

    • David Fleck

      I'm thinking full emoji support will only work on 4.4....or they have to be using the same app to view the message that you sent it from (Hangouts - Hangouts, GMail - Gmail, etc...)

  • Ashish

    Does the keyboard now remember frequently used words?? Like samsung keyboard does

  • Raadius

    The emoji's SUCK. It does not include all the ones from other keyboards like the Jelly Bean keyboard. Am I missing something? I'm on 4.3 w/ my HTC One.

    • Mike Hussion

      Check the rest of the comments: You're not running 4.4. Once you are on 4.4 the emoji will change to reflect Google's suite of new emoji from Hangouts.

  • Mike Hussion

    I've been trying to be helpful, but honestly do people even read anymore? If you have black and white emoji, PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING:

    "On a 4.4 ROM the emoji look much different. They have the same colorful design shown in the Google press images."

    • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

      So on 4.2 I don't get all those emojis? I noticed that I only have a few.

      • Matt

        It's because Android 4.4 was launched to end fragmentation!

        • Martim

          Except on devices that are more than 18 months old, there's no point in bringing KitKat to those.

          • http://zmyaro.com/ Gamer_Z.

            Yeah, the whole “end fragmentation” spiel would have worked better if Google had shown KitKat working on devices back to the Nexus S (or even the Nexus One, though that would be a bit of a stretch).

          • Pdajmere

            Motorola Defy getting android 4.4 KitKat treatment!

        • http://www.facebook.com/lucyparanormal Daniel Tiberius

          Ugh! Dammit Google!!

      • Dutch

        I believe it is still possible to use the iWnn keyboard to get more Emoji's (though still black and white, but it is the whole list) ?
        In a message, hold space bar long, tap 'set up input methods', select 'iWnn IME', go back and hold the space bar long again, select that keyboard, and there should be the whole list... But I could be wrong.

      • cnslr81

        I have the same problem. I am running jelly bean, so I expect black and white emoji. But on my GalaxyS3, I only have a limited number of emoji and it is not what is shown in the picture above.

    • Ryan Markun

      Hey Mike I read everything every one wish can't wait till kit Kat comes out I just got the note 3 and I have been doing a lot of reading and I wanna get the most out of this phone I had an iPhone but u can only do so much if u have any more helpful things like I don't know what rooting mean and and that cayan thing it seems like u know A lot about Android so any help u can give me it would b b awesome all my dreads have apple and they there gonna learn to day lol

  • peakay

    The Emojis do not show up on my Note 2 even after installing the add-on dictionary. After some Google searchign, this seems to be a bug...anyone have a solution??

  • brkshr

    My only gripe with Google's Keyboard is that there isn't a secondary symbol on each key.

  • krsnprvn

    On New Hangouts vth SMS integrations they have color emojis available when you select the emoji button on left where your are typing... else where they all are plain...

  • nxtiak

    It sucks that this updated version, the Voice Input Mic button is either on the main keyboard or not. No more option to Move it to the Symbols keyboard!!!!

  • kamiller42

    Just performed the "The quick brown fox..." test on Google's keyboard and compared to SwiftKey's Flow. SwiftKey gets it right by a long shot. Google got 2 or 3 words right.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ninjustin ninjustin

      Flow has a few things that make it better. The Google keyboard is a great free keyboard but Swiftkey is still superior.

      • TeeJay1100

        I prefer the Google keyboard better. I tested the latest Swiftkey beta and it was a good experience but at times flow just didn't work well.

        • kamiller42

          I agree on the beta. I've been having troubles with the latest beta. Try the gold version.

          • TeeJay1100

            Where did you find the Gold version?

          • kamiller42

            Gold just means the stable version. You can get the latest stable version in the Play store.

  • Bretton Key

    The one thing I'm surprised they haven't added was arrow keys...
    I don't know about y'all but I get ALS when I make a mistake and need to correct with that cursor mess...Arrow keys are the only reasons I use swiftkey.

    • Malcolm Love

      THIS.

  • punkrockid

    I get an error saying it can't install it because an app with the same name and different signature already exists. I can't find a way to remove the existing google keyboard. Any advice? thanks!

    • Tim242

      Which phone are you using? Are you rooted?

      • punkrockid

        Galaxy S3, I managed to uninstall it using titanium ;) thanks

        • Tim242

          Gotta love Titanium! : )

          • punkrockid

            yeah! it rocks :D

  • Kie

    Getting a consistent force close if I try to swipe too many words without lifting my finger in my n7 201o

  • Cory Hanes

    Noticing that with the new launcher, the black notification bar at the top remains... Icons still holo blue aswell. Will this change when official kitkat build is released?

  • avanthomme

    I want all the emoji please! Patiently waiting on for all color emoji on SGS3. Thanks. :)

  • Mohammed Kamareddine

    question is: will you be able to view emojis in any app in 4.4?

    • ddpacino

      and not the ascii ones. Someone check witter on a 4.4 rom.

  • Trevor

    So when we install this on JB 4.1 we will only see like 20 Emojis? Cause I can only use emoji numbers and symbols, no faces or people or animals, etc.

  • Chris

    Wouldn't the only folks able to run 4.4 be Nexus 5 owners? or am I completely missing something

  • boeder

    hmm can't seem to get the stock Arabic keyboard working on the update.

  • Stacey Liu

    What the hell did they change the layout for? Now the exclamation point and comma are in really weird places. They're much closer to my left hand, and it no longer feels right. Before, they were right next to the abc/123 switcher.

    • Brayden Reesor

      Yep. I've been sending * all day on accident instead of !. I don't understand why they'd change it after we've gotten so used to it :(

    • https://twitter.com/YannDinendal Yann Dìnendal

      And my French keyboard is now qwerty instead of azerty :( I no longer have direct access to the apostrophe!

      • jimmy

        this can be fixed easily in the settings

  • lowert

    Even though I use 4.4 on my Nex4, the built in keyboard does not have swipe gestures for whatever reason, so I am obliged to install the stock 4.4 keyboard on top of my stock 4.4 keyboard, which is quite ironic :D

  • M. Shaaban

    Will this version be available on Play Store for Galaxy Nexus running 4.3 at some point? Or is it going to be released for devices running 4.4 only?

  • Angel Hernandez

    I really don't like this white on white stuff, bring back the blue google!!!!

  • http://www.grantbarker.com/ Grant Barker

    Working nicely on my Galaxy Note 2
    (Sans the colorful emoji of course.)
    Thank you.

  • Sandor Sergiu

    Nexus 4 - Rom Android 4.4 nexus 5 port

    • Michael Pahl

      Voice texting?

  • Primalxconvoy

    i dont even see the b&w symbols on my note 2; just some really simple symbols.

  • Jon

    Why am I seeing different Emoji sets on different phones? On my Galaxy Nexus the list of Emoji is several pages long plus one for faces and on my Moto X the list is just two pages plus faces.

    • Jon

      Wait, is it because my Moto X is stock and my GNex is running PA based on 4.3?

  • Kelly Allen

    I have a question. I have a S4. Where can I download a ROM 4.4?

  • http://www.gregpak.com/entries/002275.shtml D.Smithee

    Great work, guys--installed on my HTC One. Works flawlessly. Gonna stick with this for a while. Needed a change of pace, anyways.

  • Bob G

    So stupid how they are making the emoji separate depending on your Android OS version. What happened to just updating everything through the app?

    Seems more like a carrier exclusive to the Nexus 5 at this point.

  • Jeffrey Prachick

    Why am I not able to get this on my droid maxx? Motorola's "flagship" device can't get this simple update? If I'm missing something obvious can someone please let me know.

  • Lucas

    Those idiots thought it would be a good idea to move the exclamation point to the other side of the keyboard. Now when I try to be excited I always type an asterisk.

  • notyoutoo

    GRRR, they also moved the comma! Now there's an underscore where it used to be. WTF!?

  • aham

    Hello,

    How can the keyboard language (not the system language) on the google keyboard be changed?

    Thanks!

  • nnorton44

    Would this work on a gingerbread device??

  • strauzo

    With this keyboard i can't delete in many apps. example:

    Jackpal's terminal emulator (enter text, press Home, return, and try to delete), and Minecraft PE (create a new world, and try to delete the existing world name).

    to solve the problem you can use this corrected version http://d-h.st/0jc

    delete LatinImeGoogle.apk from /system/apk and install the new apk as normal sideload apk

  • Jean Barbosa

    Works In Galaxy Y Duos?

  • davis

    Does this support 2.3.5?

  • qwerty

    Incomplete emojis :(

  • Blake Scoggin

    I'm on an HTC One, and previously I've been using "Smart Keyboard Trial" to be able to type emojis everywhere. I get the complete list. With this keyboard it doesn't show all of the emojis on my system. Is there a way around this?

  • Pauker

    Can anyone help me ? For me there are still just a few emoji in black white .I tried every Google keyboard apk and it is still not working.(I have an Samsung Galaxy Note 2)