Did you know that there's a special Google keyboard for Android? I was fairly surprised when I found out. With Android being owned by Google and every device having several Google apps installed by default, you'd say that the missing Gboard is an error on their part.
It could very well be. However, the enhanced nature of Gboard make it stand out as something not everybody would necessarily enjoy. Why am I saying this? I don't know, I just want to rationalize why wouldn't Google want to record everybody's typing, all the time. Who am I fooling, they probably already doing that with all keyboards.
In terms of appearance, Gboard looks rather plain except for a round "G" icon on the left of the suggestion bar. Tapping it will bring up search suggestions and will also allow you to do a Google search right then and there. The result can be opened externally by browser, but it can also be "shared" to the box you are typing in. That could very well be a conversation, a diary entry or any environment where the keyboard is accessible.
You can also search and insert GIF's from giffy. Of course, gif's being the specific type of media item that it is, you wouldn't be able to add them into notes or in Facebook Lite...unfortunately for me.
Gboard also features a very advanced version of Swipe. Hitting the right words (in English at least) is very easy. The visual effect is also nicely done. The suggestion bar works in two ways: Once you've swiped a word, it offers some alternatives, but once you've tapped the space bar, it will start suggesting connective words to be used next. You can make your own version of meaningless text this way. It's so much fun! (see above)
You can access advanced settings from the springboard icon, but also from the keyboard comma(,) button. There you get to customize the theme, swipe behavior, suggestions, and languages.
You can add in a plethora of languages. Each gets installed as a separate keyboard. Don't worry. You can access the keyboard manager directly from Gboard. Indeed, that's not a perfect solution if you're used to switching languages often. But at least you don't have to go to the System Settings every time you want to say "Hello" in Japanese, or something of the sort.
- Hundreds of supported languages
- Google search and share right in the text box
- One handed mode (the keyboard slides to the right or the left)
- Swipe typing
- Word suggestions
Even though I'm certain that a kippah wearing online agent is watching my every move, I must confess that the draw of Gboard has finally taken me over. I'm not that happy about the language switching, but I'm going to be using this as long as I'm comfortable with it. Which may be for a long time to come.