The latest release of the Gboard app doesn't seem to be reshaping much of the landscape for many users, that is unless they were serious fans of the GIF Camera, but it does bring hints about some potentially significant additions in the future. A teardown brings hints that Google Assistant will be able to offer up even more value in messaging apps soon, plus there's a reason to suspect you'll begin getting auto-complete suggestions from other apps installed on your phone.

What's New

Unofficial Changelog: (the stuff we found)

  • GIF Camera is dead

GIF Camera is no more

From Gboard v8.4

With the release of Gboard v8.2, we saw that Google had made plans to shut down the GIF Camera feature, a tool that allowed you to create your own GIFs with your phone's camera for immediate use in messaging apps. Three months later and the plug has been pulled.

Notably, users may not have had the GIF Camera available to them even with earlier versions, as it has been disabled remotely for many users over the last several weeks. However, with this update, many of the resources related to the GIF Camera were actually removed from the APK itself, basically ensuring that it is now formally removed.

Other minor changes

There are always a few tweaks here and there, but a couple little things stood out.

Left: v8.4. Right: v8.5.

First, the key dedicated to switching into the screen for emoji, GIFs, and other graphics was repainted to match the return key. Some people have had this for a while, but this update seems to make it a permanent change.

Left: v8.4. Right: v8.5.

The other change appeared in the settings page for voice typing. The title for the extra page of settings has been renamed from "Voice typing settings" to "Offline speech recognition" and the description was rewritten. This seems to be more accurate, so it makes sense.

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.

Google Assistant integration

Assistant is hooked into just about every app under the Google name, or at least that's how it's starting to look. In the latest update to Gboard, new text suggests users will be able to ask Assistant for information that can be pasted through the keyboard.

Left: Google Messages w/ Assistant integration. Right: Gboard search results.

As it is described, users will be able to ask about movies, restaurants, and other things, and they can share the results in a message. From the basic description, this sounds like it would work similarly to the current feature of sharing search results, and probably matches the Assistant integration in Google Messages very closely, and may be the same thing.

<string name="maestro_promo_title">Share info from the Google Assistant</string>
<string name="maestro_promo_description">In a conversation, you can ask the Assistant for info about movies, dining, and more, and share it in a message.\10\10To bring up the Assistant, touch &amp; hold the Home screen button or say \"OK Google.\"</string>
<string name="maestro_promo_notice_label">Find &amp; share info from Google Assistant</string>
<string name="maestro_promo_got_it_button_label">Got it</string>

In a sense, this is almost an evolution of typing with voice dictation, but instead of directly quoting you, the Assistant would likely be typing answers to your questions. At times like this, it feels like the goal of Gboard may be to never make us actually actually type anything manually.

Auto-completion suggestions from other apps

Gboard might be experimenting with supplementing auto-completion with suggestions from third-party apps. The addition of one actual string, plus some placeholders, may hint that Google will be allowing other locally installed apps to provide unique knowledge of a user to help with completing text.

<string name="app_completion_content_description_with_attribution">%1$s, suggestion from %2$s&gt;</string>
<string name="app_completion_attribution" />
<string name="app_completion_commit_completion_whitelist" />
<string name="app_completion_whitelist" />
<string name="app_completions" />

The string itself seems to show that suggestions will be offered along with the source of the suggestion. Aside from that, the only other safe assertion is that only apps on a whitelist will be allowed to contribute suggestions, at least for now. However, there aren't any apps named yet, so we'll probably have to wait a bit more to see what else might come up.

Simple examples of what this could do would be along the lines of familiar features like a contacts app that provides a list of names. A more advanced example could include something like Google Maps making suggestions based on recent searches and saved places. It's hard to say whether this will be limited to just Google's own apps or if it will also be able to pull from third parties.

Notably, nothing above explicitly limits this to just text, perhaps opening up the possibility that apps would be able to suggest emoji or even GIFs.

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

  • Georgian [ka]
  • Kambaata [ktb]
  • Lingala [ln]

Localized subtype locale

  • Belarusian [be_BY]
  • Dargwa [dar_RU]
  • Estonian [et_EE]
  • Fijian [fj_FJ]
  • Faroese [fo_FO]
  • Galician [gl_ES]
  • Armenian [hy_AM]
  • Hebrew [iw_IL]
  • Georgian (Mkhedruli) [ka_GE]
  • Khmer [km_KH]
  • Lingala (Angola) [ln_AO]
  • Lingala (DRC) [ln_CD]
  • Lao [lo_LA]
  • Mongolian [mn_MN]
  • Occitan [oc_FR]
  • Romansh [rm_CH]
  • Sinhala [si_LK]
  • Thai [th_TH]
  • Tahitian [ty_PF]

Subtype locale

  • Hinglish [hi_latn]
  • ျမန္မာ [my_ZG]

Variant

  • Aborlan [aborlan]
  • Ajagbe [ajagbe]
  • Amdo Tibetan [amdo_tibetan]
  • Angika [angika]
  • Arakanese [arakanese]
  • Bakhtiari [bakhtiari]
  • Bamum [bamum]
  • Baybayin [baybayin]
  • Buhid [buhid]
  • Chakma [chakma]
  • Chakma Compact [chakma_compact]
  • Chaldean Neo-Aramaic [chaldean_neo_aramaic]
  • Dhatki [dhatki]
  • Dinka [dinka]
  • Eastern Cham [eastern_cham_dynamic]
  • Eastern Pwo [eastern_pwo]
  • Farefare [farefare]
  • Fulfulde [fulfulde]
  • Ghomala [ghomala]
  • Gor [gor]
  • Gourmanché [gourmanche]
  • Grebo [grebo]
  • Gulay [gulay]
  • Hadiyya [hadiyya]
  • Hanunuo [hanunuo]
  • Hazaragi [hazaragi]
  • Igala [igala]
  • Izon [izon]
  • Kabiye [kabiye]
  • Kachi Koli [kachi_koli]
  • Khams Tibetan [khams_tibetan]
  • Khmer Surin [khmer_surin]
  • Khmu [khmu]
  • Kuhmareyi [kuhmareyi]
  • Lisu [lisu_lisu]
  • Maba [maba]
  • Pahari [mahasu_pahari]
  • Makassarese [makassarese]
  • Massa [massa]
  • Mon [mon]
  • Nenets [nenets]
  • Ngambay [ngambay]
  • Nuosu [nuosu]
  • Ojibwe [ojibwe]
  • Pashayi [pashayi]
  • Pulaar [pulaar]
  • Purepecha [purepecha]
  • Rejang [rejang]
  • Rohingya [rohingya]
  • Sar [sar]
  • Sasak [sasak]
  • Saurashtra [saurashtra]
  • Serer [serer]
  • Shan [shan]
  • Sherpa [sherpa]
  • Silt\'e [silte]
  • Soninke [soninke]
  • Surgujia [surgujia]
  • Tai Nuea [tai_nuea]
  • Tetela [tetela]
  • Tswa [tswa]
  • Tumbuka [tumbuka]
  • Valencian [valencian]
  • Varhadi [varhadi]
  • Cham [western_cham_dynamic]
  • Xaasongaxango [xaasongaxango]
  • Zarma [zarma]

Variant transliteration

  • abc → आहिराणी [ahr_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → بلوچی مکرانی [bcc_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → بلتی [bft_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → بلوچی زبان [bgp_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → भीली [bhb_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → ભીલી [bhb_gujr_transliteration]
  • abc → कन्नौजी [bjj_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → براہوئی [brh_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → চাঁটগাঁইয়া [ctg_beng_transliteration]
  • abc → ढूंढारी [dhd_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → فارسی [fa_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → गोड़वाड़ी [gdx_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → گوجری [gju_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → गुजरी [gju_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → गोंडी [gno_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → గోండీ [gno_telu_transliteration]
  • abc → আ\'চিক [grt_beng_transliteration]
  • abc → हलबी [hlb_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → ହଲବୀ [hlb_orya_transliteration]
  • abc → ہندکو‬ [hnd_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → ہندکو [hno_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → हरौती [hoj_transliteration]
  • abc → ייִדיש [ji_hebr_transliteration]
  • abc → कौरकू [kfq_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → कोंकणी [knn_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → ಕೊಂಕಣಿ [kok_knda_transliteration]
  • abc → कुड़ुख़ [kru_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → ລາວ [lao_laoo_transliteration]
  • abc → बंजारा [lmn_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → లంబాడి [lmn_telu_transliteration]
  • abc → मगही [mag_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → मंडयाली [mjl_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → Монгол [mn_cyrl_transliteration]
  • abc → मेवाड़ी [mtr_transliteration]
  • abc → मालवी [mup_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → مارواري [mve_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → निमाड़ी [noe_transliteration]
  • abc → پہاڑی [phr_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → پشتو [ps_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → সাঁওতালি [sat_beng_transliteration]
  • abc → شینا‬ [scl_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → සිංහල [si_sinh_transliteration]
  • abc → सुरजापुरी [sjp_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → سرائيڪ [skr_sindhi_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → سرائیکی‬ [skr_urdu_arab_transliteration]
  • abc → शेखावाटी [swv_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → ককবরক [trp_beng_transliteration]
  • abc → মুন্ডা [unr_beng_transliteration]
  • abc → वऱ्हाडी [vah_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → वागड़ी [wbr_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → मेरवारी [wry_deva_transliteration]
  • abc → कांगड़ी [xnr_deva_transliteration]

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