Google is constantly enhancing Gboard with new smart features, making many people question why they should even install third-party keyboards at all. These days, the app already comes with tons of intelligent suggestions for clipboard items, GIFs and stickers search, and, uh, podcasts. With the latest slew of server-side experiments and updates, Google is adding even more proactive features: Some people report seeing smart replies, and others see sticker recommendations right on top of the keyboard while typing. There are also intelligent GIF search recommendations based on the last text you sent.
The smart reply experiment is the most useful one of the bunch. In our tipster's case above, the standard "Yes," "No," and "Yeah" answers popped up after a simple one-worded question. In contrast to regular three next word suggestions that show up at the top of the keyboard when you type, these sit in bubbles and are a little closer together. They look just like the suggestions you see in notifications or Google Messages.
Sticker and emoji suggestions.
The sticker suggestions show up in the bar above the keyboard, too. Our tipster demonstrates how they pop up next to emoji suggestions while he's typing. Upon tapping the sticker, a bigger preview can be seen, and when you tap and hold it, you can ask Gboard to "show more items" or turn off sticker suggestions altogether. It's unclear how exactly sending these suggestions while writing a text will work, as stickers are usually standalone messages.
We've also seen contextual GIF search suggestions in Gboard. Depending on your most recent message, different terms are shown when you head to Gboard's GIF search. Following a text like "This is amazing," suggestions for "joy" and "love you" show up. Something like "What the hell is happening, omg" will give you "omg" and "surprised," and an "I'll cry myself to sleep tonight" will surface "confused" and "sad."
None of these suggestion features appear to have rolled out widely already. It looks like Google is currently testing them via a server-side switch, and as always, there's no opt-in. You can try downloading the latest beta release of the keyboard — that sometimes helps. It's available on the Play Store or APK Mirror.
- Armando & Moshe