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article imageGoogle's new iPhone keyboard lets you search the web while typing

By James Walker     May 12, 2016 in Technology
Google has launched a new keyboard exclusive to Apple's iPhone. The keyboard resembles Apple's default one but includes direct access to Google's search engine and a large selection of GIFs and emoji. It makes it easier to access Google from iOS.
The keyboard is called Gboard and was launched in the App Store today. Google has developed the app specially for the iPhone. It has not indicated whether it intends to bring it to Android in the future.
Gboard's basic keyboard layout looks very similar to the standard iOS one. The keys use the same styling and background colours as Apple's out-of-the-box option, ensuring they look appropriate on the iPhone.
Above the keys is where the interesting features are stored. Tapping the Google icon at the top of the keyboard opens a Google search bar. You can search for anything on Google and send it to a friend with a single tap.
Search results appear as familiar Google content cards. You can swipe to view more results. When you find the one you want, you can tap it to send it when in a messaging app. The card's information will be extracted as plain text and sent in a message. Optionally, it can be accompanied by an image of the result.
You can also search for emoji and animated GIFs, making it easy to spice up a conversation with added meaning. These options appear at the bottom of the search bar as different tabs, letting you pick between web, emoji and GIF search modes.
Google s Gboard keyboard for the iPhone
Google's Gboard keyboard for the iPhone
The keyboard can be used in any app and works across the iOS system. Because the content of search cards is injected as plain text, your recipient will be able to view the data even if they don't own an iPhone.
"Searching and sending stuff on your phone shouldn't be that difficult," said Google. "With Gboard, you can search and send all kinds of things - restaurant info, flight times, news articles - right from your keyboard. Anything you'd search on Google, you can search with Gboard. Results appear as cards with the key information front and center, such as the phone number, ratings and hours. With one tap, you can send it to your friend and you keep the conversation going."
Gboard also includes another popular keyboard feature that isn't available on the default iOS layout. You can quickly type words and sentences by sliding your finger from key to key using swipe gestures. Google calls it Glide Typing here, letting you type more quickly while retaining accuracy. Autocomplete suggestions still appear above the keyboard.
The app is available for download from the App Store today. Currently, it only supports U.S. English but Google says it is working to localise Gboard so more people can use it. The keyboard appears to be designed to make it easier to access Google on iOS, exposing the company's search engine through one of the most frequently used elements of a smartphone.
More about Google, iPhone, Ios, Keyboard, Google Search
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