A new update to Google Keyboard — the default keyboard on Nexus, Pixel, and some Android phones –also brings a name change, to Gboard. If the new name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the name of an existing keyboard Google released on iOS earlier this year.
The iOS app, which debuted in May, lets users run Google search queries and share results directly in the keyboard — eliminating the need to leave an app to go to Google search. It also features GIF and emoji search. Google said Gboard features would eventually come to Android, and it looks like the company realized it makes more sense to combine it with the existing Google Keyboard app.
The porting of Gboard features means you can now run Google searches in the Android keyboard. You’ll see an arrow on the top left side of the keyboard. Tap it and you’ll get five options: Google Search, access to keyboard themes, one-handed mode, access to keyboard settings, and voice input. You can also head over to the keyboard’s settings and click Search to show the “G” button for quicker access to search.
The search function lets you add Knowledge Graph cards — if you search “The Meatball Shop” for example, Gboard lets you throw the result into a conversation. That way, the people in the conversation can easily call the restaurant, find directions, and more. This applies to sharing news stories and YouTube video links as well.
You can also search for emojis when you tap the emoji icon. GIF search has been available, but you need to be on Android Nougat for it to work. It also requires apps to add support, and right now is limited to a few. including Allo, Hangouts, and Google Messenger.
The update also adds the ability to permanently display a number row above the keyboard in case you find yourself typing in numbers often.
The Gboard update and rebranding should be rolling out to the Google Keyboard app on Android now. Android phones from manufacturers like Samsung and LG have their own keyboards, but these can be changed to whatever suits your liking on the Play Store.
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