Google has gotten chummier with iOS over the years, bringing over most of its services as native apps, but Android remains its home territory – which is why it’s so odd to see an noteworthy Google app hit iPhone first.
Gboard is the company’s new keyboard app, and it’s available yesterday in the US exclusively for iPhone. Third-party keyboard apps are a pain to use on iOS, since you can’t permanently choose an alternative and the likelihood of accidentally switching between them during use is high, but Gboard might be worth weathering frustrations for.
Essentially, Gboard puts Google search capabilities right into the keyboard interface itself. Tap the familiar rainbow G icon and it’ll pull up the search bar, letting you find information and more without changing apps. Want an auto-copied YouTube link or street address? That all comes up easily in the expandable search window, too.
Gboard also lets you search for emoji by name, seek out an array of animated GIFs to spice up your conversations, and includes optional swipe-based typing. In short, it’s seemingly all the things you might want from a keyboard app, none of which you’ll find on Apple’s stock option.
Curiously, you also won’t find this functionality on Android – at least, not for now. Asked about Android in a Product Hunt chat with the developers, Google product manager Bri Connelly responded, “Working on the best way to bring the same functionality to Android right now!”
Given that, Gboard probably won’t be a standalone app on Android, but these features ought to be bundled into the official Google Keyboard at some point. Exactly when remains unknown, but we doubt it will be too long given the expected wrath of slighted Android fans.
It’s US only for now, but Google has promised to bring it to other countries soon.