Google released a keyboard app for the iPhone some months back called Gboard, and everyone was wondering if it would come to Android. Well, now it has as the v6.0 update to Google Keyboard. It's not only a name change, though. There are a few important new features, including a search shortcut and true multi-language support.
The update is still rolling out, and Google has not yet posted an official changelog. Here's what we've spotted so far.
- G button (enabled in settings) offers quick access to search from the keyboard
- Pop-out toolbar (when G button not enabled) provides access to themes, settings, one-handed mode, and search
- Optional dedicated number row
- Up to three active languages with preference for one (previously had to switch)
- Gesture typing is now called Glide typing.
- Search for emoji
- Rearranged emoji panel with group selection at bottom
- Emoji have bright halo effect around them
- GIF button is always shown, but disabled in apps without support.
We'll update if we spot anything else, but this should be most of it. Keep in mind, the G button is optional because you can still access integrated search from the toolbar pop-out. It's just one extra step. It's up to you if you prefer to just have the button. That's cool and all, but the dedicated number row will make a lot more people happy. You have to turn that on in settings as well. Those on the team who speak multiple languages seem quite excited about the multiple language support too. You can actually type in up to three of them without manually switching keyboard modes. This is similar to the way SwiftKey does it.
The update is just starting to roll out, but we've got the new version on APK Mirror (Android 4.2 and higher). Note, it's in a different area of APK Mirror than the old Google Keyboard, but it is just an update.
GBoard is now official. Google announced it on its Keyword blog, focusing on the new search and share options, multilingual support, and GIF insertion.