When Google released Gboard for iOS earlier this year, scorned Android users were promised that the search-centric keyboard would be making its way to Android phones soon enough. Some six months later, Google is making good on its promise, and it’s every bit as good as it is on the iPhone.
Coming in the form of an update to the existing Google Keyboard, the new version brings a slew of features that iPhone users have already been enjoying, most notably a Google search bar built right into the top row. Just tap the tiny arrow to the left of the predictive text field and you’ll see a series of new options. Expand the magnifying glass and you’ll be able to search Google via a tiny browser to easily send links, pics, and, most importantly, GIFs to your friends. You can also change the theme, adjust settings, turn on one-handed mode, and enable dictation from the same options bar.
Also new is a search field for the emoji picker and a dedicated number row that can be toggled on in settings, and you can also opt to show the “G” button in the predictive text row. Elsewhere, Google’s gesture typing has been renamed Glide Typing, but it seems to work exactly the same. The update is currently rolling out to the Play Store, but if you don’t want to wait (and we don’t blame you), sideload the Google-signed APK from APK Mirror.
The impact on you at home: We’re generally okay with Google sharing Android apps and services with the greater iOS community, but we never understood why Gboard was exclusive to the iPhone for so long. But all is forgiven. The Android version of Gboard brings everything the iOS one does, and we couldn’t ask for a better early Christmas gift.