google's iPhone keyboard
I have been using SwiftKey’s keyboard on my iPhone for quite some time now. However, I am always looking for the next best — and today, I believe I may have found it. Gboard by Google is a new free app which provides a third-party replacement keyboard for Apple’s default on the iPhone. There are multiple apps similar to Gboard, however, Google is the first major company, that I know about, to jump into third-party keyboard design, so I’m trusting that they will provide superior service over the others.
Before getting started with Gboard, you will want to jump into the settings to disable their restriction on “offensive words”.
There are multiple apps that allow you to type by swiping across the keyboard. I’ve found that SwiftKey looks and functions the best. With that said, and in my time using Gboard, I’ve found that it is more correct in predicting and deciphering what I am attempting to type.
Tapping on the small Google logo brings up a search bar where you can search websites, maps, restaurants, photos, and more. When you select something, information regarding it is automatically pasted into your text field (whether that text field is in a text message or Facebook status update. The information Google enters is an emoticon, description, and link. For example, when I searched for a restaurant location, Google inserted a pin drop emoticon, the restaurant name, address, phone number, and URL link to the Google search page. You can then use the new field however you wish (sending the text message, posting the Facebook update, etc.).
Gboard handles emoticons as other similar apps do. When tapping the emoticon icon, you are presented with a list of the general iPhone emoticons. Yes, you can change the skin color within Gboard. Like other apps, you are able to swipe through the list or tap the category icon to scroll through available emoticons.
What’s different with Gboard is that Google allows you to search through emoticons using a text search bar. For example, if you type “crying,” you will be presented with the three crying emojis.
Another neat feature of Gboard is that it supports GIFs. When you want to place a GIF in your message, tap the emoji icon, then GIF. You can scroll through recently used, and popular categories such as high five, no, yes, thank you, awkward, hungry, OMG, party, scared, miss you, and more. Otherwise, you can use the search bar to type in a word, and Google will search it’s database for results. Google appears to access the GIFs from popular sites such as Tumblr, Imgur, and Riffsy.
When you find a GIF you want to use, just tap on it. It will be copied to your copyboard. Then return to your message and paste it in. It’s really simple.
While some will complain about Google requesting access to your location, and them tracking your search history, I don’t see this as an issue as Google requires this information to provide features.
Most of the features have been around for some time in other apps, but none of them have offered everything in one app. My only complaint so far is that the keyboard isn’t the best looking; and that’s a minor issue. Google, in the future, could implement alternative designs, whether for free or at a cost.
After being a loyal user of Swiftkey for years, I will be sticking with Gboard, at least until Swiftkey starts providing more features.