Google has launched Gboard, an iPhone keyboard app that also comes with built-in search functionality.
When Apple opened up iOS to accept third-party keyboards back in 2014, the App Store quickly filled up with the likes of SwiftKey and Swype. Google's a little behind the curve, then, but its keyboard app has one important trick up its sleeve: a search button.
This serves up Google results as cards within the keyboard itself, meaning users can find addresses, relevant info or articles without having to switch out to another app. Gboard also enables users to specifically search for GIFs, and navigate emoji using text search terms – cutting down on time spent scrolling through the hundreds of options to find that one aubergine icon.
It might seem strange that this feature is launching on iOS first but, given the claims leaked earlier this year that Google paid Apple $1bn to keep its search bar in a prominent place on the iPhone, it makes perfect sense that the company would want to find other ways to make its search engine part of iOS.
As with Google's standard Android keyboard, Gboard also incorporates 'glide typing', which enables users to type by swiping their finger across the screen rather than individually tapping each letter.
Gboard is initially available in US English, with support for more languages promised in the future.