If you’ve ever looked at your smartphone’s keyboard and thought to yourself, “This is hard,” Google is here to help. On Monday, June 12, the tech giant announced that Gboard for Android is getting an upgrade. Not only is Google continuing in its efforts to improve typing quality with machine intelligence, it’s also introducing “new ways to get creative and cut down text time.”
So what can you expect? First off, in the emoji search box of Gboard, you can now tap the emoji handwriting icon and sketch out your version of your favorite emoji — from there, Google will recognize what you were trying to convey, and return results for your emoji of choice. If nothing else, it could be a good way to test your artistic skills, and see just how true to form you can be while drawing on a smartphone.
To help you be more efficient at texting, Gboard also now features phrase suggestions that can predict what your next line in a text conversation may be. If, for example, you start typing “looking forward,” Gboard will suggest that you complete that phrase with “to seeing” or “to it” as you type. Currently, this functionality is supported only in English, but Google says that it will be rolling out to more languages in the near future. We should point out, of course, that Apple users already have this function in iMessages.
Google has also made improvements to searching in your keyboard — you’ll now be able to check out multiple results at once. Moreover, Google notes, “on a card, you can click through to go to Maps, call a business, or watch a YouTube video. Just press the G or arrow -> magnifying glass in the suggestion strip to start searching.”
Finally, the latest Gboard update supports 200 languages, and the company is adding suggestions and gesture typing for Azerbaijani (Iran), Dhivehi, French (Belgium), Hawaiian, Maori and Samoan, and simple keyboards. To test all these new features out, head on over to the Google Play Store and be sure that you’re running version 6.3 of Gboard.
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