As promised, Google this morning launched its first software keyboard for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, called Gboard. Available free on the App Store, it integrates the power of Google Search, supports gesture-based typing, lets you send GIFs, emoticons and more. “No more app switching; just search and send, right from your keyboard,” said Google.
Introducing Glide Typing
The keyboard features Swype-like gesture typing they’re calling Glide Typing. With Glide Typing, you can type words by sliding your finger from key to key instead of tapping.
I’m a big fan of this feature. As someone who’s gotten quite proficient at gesture-based typing in keyboards such as Swype, I’m looking forward to using Glide Type in Gboard.
Google Search is built-in
With Gboard, you can search anything with built-in Google Search by tapping the Google logo in the row just above the keys. You can search for all kinds of information, including nearby stores and restaurants, videos and images, weather forecasts, news and articles, sports scores and more—pretty much anything else you’d normally search on Google.com can be searched from Gboard.
The best thing about using Google Search within Gboard is that results appear as cards with the key information embedded, including things like restaurant phone numbers, ratings and hours, flight times, news articles and more.
This can save you more than a tap or two. For instance, if a friend asked you for the address of a restaurant, you’d normally have to leave your chatting app, go to Google Search on the web, find the restaurant, copy its address, switch back to texting, paste the address into your message and hit the Send button.
Find GIF reactions and emojis
With Gboard’s built-in GIF and emoji search, you can quickly find an appropriate GIF for the best reaction and find the perfect emoji to express your emotions in chats.
“Instead of scrolling to find the right emoji, search for ‘dancer’ and find that emoji you were looking for instantly,” said Google. “Even better—you can search for the perfect GIF to show people how you’re really feeling.”
Pricing and availability
Gboard requires an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad with iOS 9.0 or later. The app is English only for the time being, but support for more languages is coming soon.