Google is tackling fat fingers, text translation through Gboard's AI

google gboard go news
Malarie Gokey/Digital Trends
Gboard, Google’s mobile keyboard for iOS and Android, is almost like a digital secretary. It can predict what you’re going to type before you type it, perform Google searches, translates in real time between more than 15 different languages, and boasts a growing library of handy emojis. And on Thursday, Google researchers pulled back the curtain on efforts to make it better.

“Most people spend a significant amount of time each day using mobile-device keyboards: Composing emails, texting, engaging in social media, and more. Yet, mobile keyboards are still cumbersome to handle,” Google said. “The average user is roughly 35 percent slower typing on a mobile device than on a physical keyboard. To change that, we recently provided many exciting improvements to Gboard for Android, working towards our vision of creating an intelligent mechanism that enables faster input while offering suggestions and correcting mistakes, in any language you choose.”

In a post on the Google Research Blog, Google explained how Gboard is using machine learning to cut down on errors. Using neural networks — computer systems modeled on the human brain and nervous system — researchers were able to correct for for mistyped letters, misspellings, character insertions, and deletions. “[Gboard] address[es] these errors at the character level, mapping the touch points on the screen to actual keys,” Google said.

In addition, Google employed TensorFlow, its hardware-accelerated machine learning platform, to train hundreds of neural networks and optimize them for suggestions, completions, and other keyboard-specific features. After a year of work, the models were six times faster and 10 times smaller than the initial versions, Google said, and showed a 15 percent reduction in bad autocorrects and 10 percent reduction in “wrongly decoded gestures.”

Those changes were just the beginning. Google factored lexicon, which tells which words occur in a language, and probabilistic grammar, which tells what words are likely to follow other words, into Gboard’s machine intelligence. The result was what Google calls Finite-State Transducers, which power the app’s natural language processing and supply word completions and predictions.

Google used the same Finite-State Transducers to map sequences of Latin keys to symbol sequences in Indic languages. The result? Gboard lets you type a word according to its phonetic pronunciation — the Hindi “daanth” for “दांत” (teeth) — and automatically transliterates it. Compared to Gboard’s old system, the new models are 50 percent faster, and reduce the fraction of words users have to manually correct by more than 10 percent. “Some languages have multiple writing systems […] so between transliterated and native layouts, we built 57 new input methods in just a few months,” Google said.

“While we hope that these recent changes improve your typing experience, we recognize that on-device typing is by no means solved. Gboard can still make suggestions that seem nonintuitive or of low utility and gestures can still be decoded to words a human would never pick, Google said. “However, our shift towards powerful, machine-intelligence algorithms has opened new spaces that we’re actively exploring to make more useful tools and products for our users worldwide.”


5G is the swift kick VR and AR gaming needs to come to fruition

There's a lot of hype surrounding augmented reality and virtual reality, but is it really the next big thing? We take a look at where the new mediums stand, as well as how 5G is poised to help them break into the mainstream.

The Huawei P30 will zoom into view on March 26 in Paris

The Huawei P30 Pro will be announced on March 26, 2019. It has already started to leak ahead of this date, and expectations are high that the company will improve even further on the P20 Pro's camera.
Home Theater

Bose’s technology patents could save an earbud’s battery life

Possibly taking a cue from Apple's popular AirPods, Bose filed a patent application for earbud IR technology that could save battery life, improve sound quality, and possibly help people locate lost earbuds.

Nikon will bring eye-detection autofocus to the Z6 and Z7 in May

An upcoming firmware update will bring Eye AF to the Nikon Z6 and Z7 -- along with improved autofocus performance in low light. The update will also give the cameras support for the CFexpress format.

These wireless earbuds use an A.I. to get you moving faster

The new Soul Blade wireless earbuds provide the ability to track your heart rate during a workout while an A.I.-powered coach gives advice and info on how to improve form and efficiency while exercising.

The 2019 iPhone could put a charge into your other Apple gadgets

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.

This discounted smartwatch is a cheap Apple Watch or Fitbit Versa alternative

The Amazfit Bip isn't an Apple Watch or Fitbit Versa, but at the discounted price of $67, it's a very affordable alternative packed with useful features. With built-in GPS and 30-day battery life, this cheap smartwatch is a great option to…

Own an unlocked Galaxy S9? The U.S. Android Pie update has landed

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.

Xbox's app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.

It looks like Google may get rid of the back button in Android Q

Android Pie recently rolled out, but it's already time to look ahead to Android Q, the next version of Google's mobile OS. We've seen a number of rumors and leaks come out about the operating system -- here's everything we know so far.

Amazon cuts prices on the Apple Watch Series 3 for Presidents’ Day

The Apple Watch Series 3 is seeing the same price cut we saw during the Amazon sale just last week. So if you're hoping to pick up an Apple Watch for less than $250, this $50 discount from Amazon can make that happen for you.

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for February 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for December 2018.
Social Media

Instagram to make giving easier with a Stories donation sticker for fundraisers

Instagram is preparing to launch a donation feature within Stories that would allow users to raise cash for a range of nonprofit charities. The company confirmed it's aiming to launch the donation sticker later this year.