The stock virtual keyboard for Android is getting a major update this week, Google says: Gboard for Android will gain emoji and GIF typing suggestions, improved voice typing, more keyboard themes, and Google Translate access.
As is so often the case, I naturally went to my Pixel phone to see the update. Which is not available: Gboard was last updated on my device back in January. But according to the Google Play Store listing, the new app update is in fact available. I’m sure I’ll get it eventually.
In the meantime, here’s a rundown of the new features.
Emoji and GIF suggestions as-you-type. Not sure why this is listed first, but Gboard will now suggest emojis and GIF images as you type. You can also share GIFs in supported apps, including Allo, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts, and Snapchat, Google notes.
Improved voice typing. Voice Typing picks up an interface update that makes it easier to switch back and forth between normal typing.
New keyboard themes. You can now select from some scenic views as the Gboard background. (Previously, it was just color schemes and an option to choose your own picture.) Google says it will greatly expand these themes moving forward, too.
Google Translate integration. A new Translate icon on the keyboard lets you immediately translate text in other languages. This is particularly useful in text messaging apps, of course.
Expanded support for right-to-left languages. In right-to-left languages like Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi, you can now tap on the arrow or the G in the suggestion strip and get access to new search features, including web, GIF and emoji.
You can download Gboard for Android from the Google Play Store. Chances are you already have it, however.
Tagged with Gboard