The latest update to Gboard is making the rounds, and this one appears to be taking another stab at enabling the clipboard manager. Meanwhile, this update also sets the stage for additional features to be added to the overflow menu, an improved Japanese keyboard, a Pixel-specific theme, and more.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)

  • Overflow screen now supports wrapping

Overflow screen prepares for more items

We've seen the overflow... shortcuts... access points? Errm, whatever that thing pictured below is supposed to be called... It is slowly becoming more important to the Gboard team as a way to expand features without encroaching on the actual keyboard space. That may not be sustainable forever, but we should all be getting more and more comfortable with it if we want to get the most out of this keyboard.

Left: v8.0. Right: v8.1.

The latest update prepares Gboard to accommodate quite a few more icons in the lineup. Up to five used to be possible, but they were smashed a bit too tightly into a single row. Now, the list is allowed to expand up to four items in a row, but if it grows any further, it begins wrapping to a new line.

This change comes just in time for a couple more items that are likely to appear soon: OCR and Sharing. An internal list containing features that appear in this screen was just updated to include these items.

strings
<array name="valid_access_point_ids">
<item>@string/id_access_point_search</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_universal_media</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_sticker</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_gif_search</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_translate</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_theme_setting</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_clipboard</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_textediting</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_one_handed</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_quality_bug_report</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_settings</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_floating_keyboard</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_ocr</item>
<item>@string/id_access_point_sharing</item>
</array>

Of course, we saw signs of OCR all the way back in v7.3, which also indicated it would be added to this overflow screen. In the strictest sense, that's not really new information, but it does give a little certainty that OCR is still in the works. Sharing only turned up in the previous update, but it's probably not going to be used very often since it will be mostly used to either advertise Gboard or help people enable additional languages on their phones.

Debug setting, for a moment

The latest version has added a setting called "Candidate runtime debug" to the Advanced settings screen. I think it's a safe bet this was an accident and will be corrected in a future update. There's also no outwardly visible sign that anything happens when toggled on, but you can go play with the toggle if you would like to feel like you're getting away with something you're not supposed to.

Teardown

Disclaimer: Teardowns are based on evidence found inside of apks (Android's application package) and are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete information. It's possible that the guesses made here are wrong or inaccurate. Even when predictions are correct, there is always a chance that products could change or may be canceled. Much like rumors, nothing is certain until it's officially announced and released.

The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk. All screenshots and images are real unless otherwise stated, and images are only altered to remove personal information.

Japanese tri-state keyboard

If you're using a Japanese keyboard in Gboard, it looks like you'll be getting an option to enable a "tri-state keyboard" that enables three keyboard modes: Digit, Hiragana, and Alphabet.

<string name="setting_japanese_tri_state_mode_title">Use tri-state keyboard</string>
<string name="setting_japanese_tri_state_mode_desc">Add dedicated Digit keyboard in addition to Hiragana and Alphabet keyboard.</string>
<string name="pref_key_japanese_use_tri_state_mode">japanese_use_tri_state_mode</string>

My familiarity with Japanese is limited to the names of the main written language sets and a few other oddball details, so I'm just going to invite our knowledgeable readers to hit the comments to help explain how (or whether) this is going to change the typing experience.

Sharing to specific apps?

Having just mentioned the Sharing feature, it's a good time to point out that there's actually a whitelist for the apps that can be destinations for the message. Why there should be a whitelist for a feature that sends a promotional message, I can't imagine, but here we are. Here's the list:

The list contains most of the standard messaging apps and social networks, just as you would expect, but also includes a few unusual entries like dating and video chat apps, and even Snapchat.

<string name="sharing_access_point_app_whitelist">com.whatsapp,com.tencent.mm,org.telegram.messenger,com.facebook.orca,com.android.mms,com.google.android.apps.dynamite,com.google.android.apps.messaging,com.google.android.talk,com.google.android.apps.fireball,com.twitter.android,com.snapchat.android,com.verizon.messaging.vzmsgs,Com.facebook.katana,com.instagram.android,com.viber.voip,jp.naver.line.android,Kik.android,Com.bsb.hike,Com.bbm,Com.skype.raider,com.facebook.lite,Com.tinder,com.textra,Com.zing.zalo,Com.badoo.mobile,com.grindrapp.android,com.imo.android.imoim,Ru.ok.android,com.jb.gosms,com.pof.android</string>

Pixel theme?

We know Gboard supports skinning, and has made strides toward a proper dark theme, but what about a theme specific to Pixel devices? Judging by a new flag added to the app, this may be coming.

<bool name="supports_pixel_theme">false</bool>
<bool name="supports_dark_theme">false</bool>

The name of the flag is the only notable clue here, so we'll probably have to wait a bit to see how it shakes out, but at least it's an interesting thing to speculate about. Just a shot in the dark, but with so much focus on colors, maybe Google is going to automatically theme Gboard to match the color of Pixel phones?

Close search box with a drag

A new flag was added that appears to allow a gesture to close the search box. It's currently disabled by default and doesn't appear to go live yet, so this is probably just a test for now.

<bool name="enable_drag_to_close_search_box">false</bool>

New languages

With new versions comes support for more languages. While it's hard to identify each and every one, I can at least show the list of the names added and hopefully you'll recognize one that matters to you or those in your life. (Sorry, some names and letters are lost as a result of software that doesn't support all alphabets, which is why they have question marks or boxes in your browser.)

Language tag

  • Buginese [bug]
  • Kurukh [kru]
  • Makassarese [mak]
  • Sasak [sas]
  • Silt'e [stv]

Localized names for sub-locales

  • अंगिका [anp_IN]
  • Ghɔmálá\' [bbj_CM]
  • ᯙᯫᯕᯟᯮᯝᯮᯉ᯳ [bts_XF]
  • Chichopi [cce_MZ]
  • Zarma Sanni [dje_NE]
  • Dazaga [dzg_TD]
  • Fulfulde [fuv_NG]
  • المهرية [gdq_YE]
  • Gamotso [gmv_ET]
  • Ghanian Pidgin [gpe_GH] – renamed
  • Gor [gqr_TD]
  • Elsässerditsch [gsw_FR]
  • Kabiye [kbp_TG]
  • Kafi Noono [kbr_ET]
  • ກຶມມຸ [kjg_LA]
  • കുറുഖ് [kru_XF]
  • Ladhof [lhu_CN]
  • Ladin [lld_IT]
  • ᨅᨔ ᨆᨀᨔᨑ [mak_XF]
  • ڍاٽڪي [mki_PK]
  • Dut Xongb [mmr_CN]
  • Mongondow [mog_ID]
  • Madjingay [mwm_TD]
  • Nohng [nut_VN]
  • پشه یی [psi_AF]
  • Ruáinga [rhg_XA]
  • ᬲᬲᬓ᭄ [sas_XF]
  • सुरगुजा [sgj_XT]
  • ስልጥኘ [stv_ET]
  • Kisukuma [suk_TZ]
  • Antandroy [tdx_MG]
  • Setswana [tn_ZA]
  • मुंडारि [unr_IN]
  • मुंडारि [unr_XU]
  • ମୁଣ୍ଡା [unr_XV]
  • Pazande [zne_CD]

subtype-locales

  • Arabic (Yemen) [ar_DJ] – renamed
  • Arabic (Saudi Arabia) [ar_SA] – renamed
  • Balinese (Aksara Bali) [ban_XF] – renamed
  • Ghomala [bbj_CM]
  • Batak Simalungun (Latin) [bts_ID] – renamed
  • Batak Simalungun [bts_XF]
  • Chopi [cce_MZ]
  • Zarma [dje_NE]
  • Dazaga [dzg_TD]
  • Nigerian Fulfulde [fuv_NG]
  • Mehri [gdq_YE]
  • Gamo [gmv_ET]
  • Gor [gqr_TD]
  • Alsatian [gsw_FR]
  • Kabiye [kbp_TG]
  • Kafa [kbr_ET]
  • Khmu [kjg_LA]
  • Kurukh (Devanagari) [kru_IN] – renamed
  • Kurukh (Malayalam) [kru_XF]
  • Lahu [lhu_CN]
  • Ladin [lld_IT]
  • Makassarese (Latin) [mak_ID] – renamed
  • Makassarese [mak_XF]
  • Dhatki [mki_PK]
  • Xong [mmr_CN]
  • Mongondow [mog_ID]
  • Sar (Chad) [mwm_TD]
  • Nung [nut_VN]
  • Southeastern Pashayi [psi_AF]
  • Rohingya [rhg_XA]
  • Sasak (Latin) [sas_ID] – renamed
  • Sasak [sas_XF]
  • Surgujia [sgj_IN]
  • Silt'e (Ge'ez) [stv_ET]
  • Silt'e (Latin) [stv_XA] – renamed
  • Sukuma [suk_TZ]
  • Tandroy-Mahafaly Malagasy [tdx_MG]
  • Tswana (Botswana) [tn_BW] – renamed
  • Mundari (Devanagari) [unr_IN]
  • Zande [zne_CD]

Variants

  • Achomi [achomi]
  • Alsatian [alsatian]
  • Balti [balti]
  • Simalungun [batak_simalungun]
  • Classical Syriac [classical_syriac]
  • Hawu [hawu]
  • Indus Kohistani [indus_kohistani]
  • IPA Chart [ipa_chart]
  • Jula [jula]
  • Kambaata [kambaata]
  • Kayah Li [kayah_li]
  • Kui [kui]
  • Lama [lama]
  • Lepcha [lepcha]
  • Mehri [mehri]
  • Moba [moba]
  • Mundang [mundang]
  • Nauruan [nauruan]
  • Ntcham [ntcham]
  • Osage [osage]
  • Pa'O Karen [pao_karen]
  • Parkari Koli [parkari_koli]
  • Sebat Bet Gurage [sebat_bet_gurage]
  • Sgaw Karen [sgaw_karen]
  • Supyire [supyire]
  • Sylheti [sylheti_syloti_nagri_dynamic]
  • Tai Dam [tai_dam]
  • Tai Lue [tai_lue]
  • Vai [vai]
  • Wanetsi [wanetsi]
  • Yao [yao]

Download

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.

Gboard - the Google Keyboard
Gboard - the Google Keyboard
Developer: Google LLC
Price: Free