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Google rolls out Gboard keyboard for iOS with built-in search functionality

By Jos
May 12, 2016
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  1. Google today launched a new keyboard for iOS that aims to save you the trouble of switching between apps to look something up on the web. Dubbed Gboard, Google’s new keyboard offers things typically found in other third party keyboards such as word prediction, swipe-based typing, emojis and GIFs. But its key feature is the ability to quickly pull up a Google search within whichever app you are using at the moment.

    By tapping the big "G" button positioned on the top left corner of the keyboard, you’re able to immediately search Google for things like flight times, news articles, restaurant and business listings, weather and more. The information is presented right there in the form of cards which you can tap and paste into your conversations or note taking app. Cards can be pasted as hyperlinked text or as an image using iOS’ Paste function.

    GIF support comes in partnership with Riffsy to improve predefined categories -- mic drop, shrug, high five, to name a few -- and powered by Google’s own image search feature. As for emoji support, Google also made a nice improvement here, allowing you search for terms like ‘football’ or ‘dance’ to find the corresponding emoji.

    Speaking to TechCrunch, Rajan Patel, head of the product team that developed Gboard noted that initially Gboard will not surface any information specific to you, though it isn’t clear if this is in the works for the future. Of course, this being Google, you may be wondering what will happen with your typed data. This is what the company has to say:

    We know the things you type on your phone are personal, so we’ve designed Gboard to keep your private information private.

    What Gboard sends to Google:

    • When you do a search, Gboard sends your query to Google’s web servers so Google can process your query and send you search results.
    • Gboard also sends anonymous statistics to Google to help us diagnose problems when the app crashes and to let us know which features are used most often.

    What Gboard doesn’t send to Google:

    • Everything else. Gboard will remember words you type to help you with spelling or to predict searches you might be interested in, but this data is stored only on your device. This data is not accessible by Google or by any apps other than Gboard.

    Gboard is available in the Apple App Store right now and currently supports English only. More languages will arrive in the future according to Google.

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