12
Dec
GoogleKeyboard-Thumb

Google's default Android keyboard has typically emphasized simplicity over anything else, but it has picked up quite a few new nice features over the years. It now offers Swype-style gesture support out of the box, and after the latest update, you can choose what color your swipe trail and accent colors should be.

What's New?

Following the Android 4.4 redesign, the Google Keyboard defaults to a subdued black and white color palette. But with this update, users are given a choice to make things blue.

Keyboard1 Keyboard2

This isn't the most substantial update, but some users probably would prefer to go back to the blue scheme Android recently started to abandon. In the years since Gingerbread, the color has come to represent comfort and familiarity.

What's new:

  • Add a new advanced option to switch keyboard color scheme (white and blue)
  • Bug fixes and stability improvements.

Still, two themes is a far cry from the number of options we've seen in previous years. For more on the state of Google Keyboard's largely buried theme changer, read our APK teardown from over the summer.

Download

The update is already rolling out, but on the chance that it hasn't hit your device yet, we've provided two mirrors below.

The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.

File name: com.google.android.inputmethod.latin-2.apk

File Size: 15.4 MB

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • http://plus.ly/zsolt prwnd

    Thanks, but we need gesture typing in other languages, not blue color scheme..

    • Karlo

      Got gesture typing here in Croatia.
      You just need to install Google Keyboard while on WiFi or OS will disable it even if its set ON.

    • djakdekiel

      I can use it with Polish language.

  • TY

    I think the blue option is mainly there for those pre-4.4 devices.

  • Marcell Lévai

    It's raining Google apps :)

    • Andy Stetson

      No kidding, and TeamBlackOut went on holiday break!

      • David Hart

        Ugh I haven't looked at what they're up to recently but solid black everything gives me a headache.

        I would be interested in the dark gradient that's found in settings though, that would look nice on people/Downloads/Hangouts etc.

        • Andy Stetson

          They make a great baseline for dark theming, I prefer apps by the UltimaRom dev and Gunthermic from xda, which are dark and blue themed.

    • usaff22

      You mean snowing :p

      • Marcell Lévai

        Yup, correct :D

      • http://twitter.com/anishbhalerao Anish Bhalerao

        Snowing? Not in the Southern Hemisphere it isn't.
        And it's Christmasy Google Apps overload too!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/77537273@N03/ Herman

    Thanks for letting us choose what's best for us, Google :D

  • Zak Taccardi

    They should add the other Holo colors!

  • iamnid

    And they still haven't fixed the ridiculously broken contraction autocorrect problems. "Dont" still is the default correction for "dont" instead of "don't." Other contraction errors persist and were introduced since the update that originally killed the blue color

    • Paul Taylor

      Not on mine. Defaults to "don't" whether I type "dont" or swipe it. Perhaps because mine is set to English (UK)?

      • Patrick Thompson

        It works fine for me too; English (US)

    • JonJJon

      I had to completely uninstall the Google keyboard updates back to the stock keyboard then reinstall it, that seemed to finx the "dont" bug which was incredibly annoying.

    • Fj0mpen

      They should also consider making it easier to enter "foreign" characters.

      I write in Norwegian and English on my phone, but I still can't understand why Google can't let me get the German "ß"-character and the Eastern-European "Š" by long-pressing S, similarly to that I can get É and È by long-pressing E. The same goes for Č, Đ, Ŋ, Ñ, Ŧ, Ž.

      Yes, they're not officially in the Norwegian alphabet, but it would've been much more convenient than enabling German/Spanish/anything (which I of course wouldn't even consider). We basically have to refer to a Škoda-car as "Skoda", or the El Niño-storm as "El Nino". And I'll never be able to write the name of a polish guy named "Łukasz" correctly.

      I assume I can replace the "LatinIME.apk" with this one using root, in order to remove the old 4.0.4 screen keyboard?

  • miri

    Is it just me or is the voice input key gone?

  • Marek P

    Still no symbols on main keyboard. Pass.

    • Giorgio Aresu

      I get the job done disabling next word prediction... You get ! ? , : ; symbols instead of nothing (maybe it's just me not giving enough time to learn but I get no prediction at all so at least I have symbols)

  • Chris Banks

    Need to revert to the old autocorrect for punctuation too, for example: Youre, dont, Ive.

    • Paul Taylor

      Seriously, all those work perfectly for me. I had no idea it was broken for some people!

  • JT3

    So... restoring holo blue deserves an update, but still no ability to change the theme of the actual keyboard? Google has decided to use dark grey on slightly lighter grey for the number row, and for years I've been wanting a way to change the colors, to allow a bit more contrast. No dice Yeah, I know I can get Swiftkey (and I have), but i actually tend to like the stock keyboard better (I know, I'm weird, no hate!)

    • Whyzor

      I too thought 'white scheme' meant the background would be white and key labels/text would be black, like most modern app themes nowadays. Instead of the old (OLED battery friendly) dark background w/ light text. On most phones with LCD screens, it actually requires a brighter backlight to read comfortably. Geesh Google, some engineers aren't seeing the big picture. Luckily the apk teardown link in the article mentions a workaround to enable the 'debug' mode to switch to a real lighter keyboard theme.

      • Colin Richardson

        Don't be silly.. Engineers don't make things at google anymore. Designers do. Engineers just make sure the bad design decisions work.. I think Google needs to shoot all their designers and go back to the days when coders were doing things, not some silly designer that only knows how to make pretty things for dumb people. Not working things for intelligent people.

  • selonmoi

    Yay! The blue accents weren't just familiar, they were more clear. When everything's white, nothing stands out. The swipe trail and word suggestions should stand out. After several weeks of trying to get used to the new look, I'm very happy to be able to go back to the old one.

  • Roberto Cordero

    This makes sense. Not all devices will get update to Kit Kat and the white color scheme just feels out of place in those devices. Good to know Google brought back visual harmony to ICS/JB devices!

  • Rory

    Is it just me or are the sound effects for typing different now as well?

    • Karthik

      Since the 4.4.1 or 4.4.2, the keyboard tap sound has been changed. it's more subtle and shallow now.

      • klyonawesome

        Is it more of a pop? I have a moto x and the sound is more like a typewriter, but on my nexus 7 2012 it's a pop. I hope they make it a pop with the next update.

  • Paul Troy

    Australia doesn't have a language input. We are neither UK English or US. Although a UK English with metric would get us mostly there..

  • sam

    Still no number row on the first screen.

    • Squiddles

      You can change the style to PC in the Advanced part of the settings. Things get kinda funky though. I just changed the long-press delay (also under Advanced) to 190ms.

  • Tim242

    I thought I missed the blue. But after changing back to it, it just looks weird. I had to switch back to grey/white.

  • andy_o

    Wait a minute, I just tried the swipe through space thing to swipe whole phrases, and while you're sliding, it shows the phrase options on top of the keyboard (just like word options), but you cannot choose any of them. When you're done swipnig, they switch to alternatives of the last word, not the phrase.

  • godxen

    Was using it, still don't like it. Swype fits my needs.

    • ash

      And the current version is highly unusable. See play store review and also my personal experience.
      I paid for it thinking it will be working fine.

  • http://www.emuparadise.me/roms-isos-games.php rarely online

    Great now allow users to select a dark background in all your apps that uses bright white.background.

  • http://www.LOVEanon.org/ Michael Oghia (Ogie)

    Is it me or this blue darker than regular holo blue?? I like it better than white, but it seems to be a different color. I also think that keyboard was better before the 4.4 update. I find that I have to correct words way more now than I used to.

  • Dmitri Smirnov

    What's up with google keyboard not being available in some countries? I can understand apps that support finansial transactions like wallet or newsstand, but keyboard? I mean, come on, google, up your game.

    • Nasko Hristov

      Newsstand is available in at least 100 contries, the news part, the "stand" part, where you can buy magazines is avaiable in 5 or 6. Edit your comment so that is its valid. Ontopic you are right, it is ridiculously stupid, I get it that there is no dictionary in lots of languages and so the swype doesn't work, (f%^k you Google about that.) but we use english in lots of these contries.

  • roberto

    Does it sync my dictionary?

  • Drew M

    I just want my Tab key back for the tablet layout.

    • tokuiten

      Go into custom input styles (see the screenshot above) and enable PC layout. Then enable English (US) (PC) in your language settings.

  • Nwanu

    Uhmmm, where'd the emoji go? Lol
    Edit: Nvm, got it.

  • Lamia Farjana

    I installed from here but i don't have option to change color. My device is 4.2 JB

  • abobobilly

    If only we could switch the "Whole Android Interface" back to Holo ... or a different color for that matter. Orange sounds and looks as sexy as .... well, Jessica Alba!?

  • Fatal1ty_93_RUS

    Why can't Google just come up with a single color scheme for recent Android versions? It's really stupid how KitKat has moved to Help White, but there's still blue elements almost every where, it's like Android UI designers don't fucking known what they are doing with the system at all

  • Dennis Johnston

    How about a black themed keyboard ??

  • Deanna

    How do u theme change your keyboard color