Gboard, formerly known as Google Keyboard on Android, is getting a handful of new features — some of which have been available on its iOS counterpart for some time. Notably, you can now translate text in real time in the subject box, and the app will also suggest emojis and GIFs as you type.
While you’re typing, you’ll get emoji as well as GIF searches in the suggestion strip above the keyboard. GIFs from the keyboard can only be shared with certain apps, but it looks like Facebook Messenger and Snapchat are finally supported, in addition to Hangouts and Allo.
But one of the coolest features in the new update involves translating in real time via Google Translate. Tap the Google icon and then tap the Translate button. You’ll be able to choose what language you’re typing in (it can automatically detect it), and choose the language you want to speak. It all works in real time, so as you type you’ll see the text being translated into your preferred language. This works with any of the more than 90 languages that Google Translate supports.
One minor drawback worth noting is that translation only works online — even if you’ve saved a language for offline use.
Another neat update is how voice typing is handled — rather than taking over your whole keyboard, the suggestion strip will act as the “Listening” tab and will add your voice-inputted text. This feature isn’t live for us yet, so it may require a server-side switch from Google.
The theming section has also been updated for a new look that offers “scenic views” as your keyboard’s backdrop. You can access these by tapping the Google icon and heading to the keyboard’s settings and “themes.” The company says it will be offering more themes from now on, so keep an eye on the section in the future to see what’s new.
Gboard’s main features now work for right-to-left languages like Arabic and Farsi. The update is available on the Google Play Store, and many of these features are already live on the iOS version of the app.
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