Need to send a link to a website? Share an image or GIF? A lot of the time, people leave their messaging app to share this type of content. Google doesn’t think that’s intuitive.
Google’s solution is Gboard, a keyboard for iOS that lets users search directly through the keyboard. It’s similar to how third-party keyboards like Giphy Keys and Riffsy’s GIF Keyboard work, except rather than solely searching for GIFs, you can run normal Google searches.
We learned that Google was building such a tool earlier this year, and now the release comes less than a week before the search giant’s developer conference, Google I/O.
The keyboard almost looks exactly like the iOS 9 keyboard, except you’ll see a colorful G button at the top left. Tapping on it opens up a Google search bar within the keyboard, and results will show up below the search bar. So if you search for a business like The Meatball Shop, as shown in the video, you’ll be able to share the address directly from the search result without ever having to leave your messaging app.
Gboard, which supports Glide Typing, makes sharing YouTube videos, flight details, and more much simpler. According to Bri Connelly, assistant product manager at Google, multi-language support will arrive in a future update. Connelly made the comments on Product Hunt, where she also addressed a question regarding the lack of an Android version of the app.
“Working on the best way to bring the same functionality to Android right now,” Connelly said. It’s unclear if this means the Gboard app will launch on Android in the future, or if the Google search feature is being integrated into the stock Google Keyboard on Android.
Gboard works in any app, as it replaces your default keyboard. Once you run a search, you can choose whether you want to see web results, images, or GIFs. That’s right — you can easily search for GIFs to quickly share through Gboard, and you can also search through emojis. Voice search isn’t compatible with the keyboard.
If you’re worried about sending the very words you type out to Google, the Mountain View company says other than your searches, Gboard doesn’t send anything you type to Google.
“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,” according to Gboard’s support page. “This data can’t be accessed by Google or by any apps other than Gboard.”
So only anything you search goes to Google’s servers, just like a regular Google search.
Gboard for iOS is available to download on iTunes.