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Android users often get some features that iOS users don’t have 5 Reasons To Choose Android Over iPhone [Opinion] 5 Reasons To Choose Android Over iPhone [Opinion] If you’re looking at buying a smartphone, you’re probably going to buy an Android device or an iPhone (sorry, Microsoft). What’s the difference, and which should you choose? We recently gave the pro-iPhone side of... Read More . For the longest time, this included keyboards not made by Apple, which meant constant jibes from Android fanboys about Apple’s restricted system.

But with iOS 8, Apple opened the flood-gates, which allowed users to install third-party keyboards on iPhones iOS 8 Lets You Replace Your iPhone Or iPad's Keyboard – Here's How iOS 8 Lets You Replace Your iPhone Or iPad's Keyboard – Here's How With iOS 8, you can finally to change your iPhone's keyboard, and you have some awesome options. Read More , like SwiftKey, Swype, and many others. Who would have thought this would one day let Apple turn the tables on their Android counterparts?

Google recently launched a new keyboard for iPhones called Gboard, and it’s exclusively available on iOS right now. That’s right, even Google’s own operating system doesn’t have it. The kicker? It’s probably the best mobile keyboard you have ever used.

What’s Gboard All About?

Gboard looks just like the default iPhone keyboard, and you might not even notice the difference except for that Google ‘G’ logo in the top-left corner. But that’s what makes this app so special.

Gboard-simple-search

Tap that G and it opens Google search in the keyboard itself. Type what you want to search for, get suggestions, and browse the results — all without ever leaving the keyboard space or changing the app to go to your browser. To put it another way, Gboard is a Google Search browser Best Google Search Tips Best Google Search Tips Read More baked into your keyboard.

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But you can’t actually browse the links. Instead, the link acts as something you can see or share. For example, let’s say you’re talking with a friend in Messages and want to share the address of a restaurant to meet up at. Tap the ‘G’ button, search for the restaurant, and tap its location from the results. Google will automatically insert a Google Maps Card or the text address of the place, depending on where you tap.

Gboard Solves Multi-Tasking on Phones

In many ways, Gboard is the answer to the restrictions of a small screen and a virtual keyboard. That combination forces you to multi-task and switch between apps more than you’d like, which is what Gboard is trying to remedy.

Think about it: When you’re using a computer, switching between different tabs or apps isn’t a big deal. A quick Alt+Tab or Cmd+Tab will put you in Chrome, where you can search for what you want, copy the link, and go back. It happens in a matter of seconds.

gboard_gif_regularSearch-640

On a mobile screen, things are different. You are switching from full-screen app to full-screen app through multiple taps or gestures. Then you start typing. Then you get results, but you can’t really right click and copy the link location. So you open the link, and then you copy the address. And if you need to copy text, it’s even worse, with that long press followed by adjusting the two tiny cursors till you get the selection of text just right. Ugh.

Multitasking is getting better What's New in iOS 9? What's New in iOS 9? Want to know what features your iPhone will be getting with the release of iOS 9 in September? Curious as to whether your device will be compatible? You're in the right place. Read More , but it’s still a long way away from perfection. Till then, Gboard eliminates all those steps. It is reducing how much you multi-task on an iPhone, and this makes your life easier.

How Is Gboard As a Standalone Keyboard?

Searching links and auto-pasting text is awesome, but that isn’t the only thing that makes a keyboard great. You’re going to use the Google search feature, but you’ll be using it as a regular keyboard more often. So how does Gboard perform as a keyboard?

Gboard-emoji-gif-search

Gboard-settings

In Gboard’s settings, you can choose to enable or disable any of these features, or others too. For example, if you use profanity while typing, you’ll probably want to disable Block Offensive Words.

GBoard and Privacy

Understandably, the biggest concern with Gboard is privacy. Google already knows a lot about you How Much Does Google Really Know About You? How Much Does Google Really Know About You? Read More , and with this keyboard app, it can log everything you type! That can be pretty scary.

Thankfully, as it stands right now, Gboard doesn’t seem too scary. The privacy implications, laid out clearly in the App Store, indicate it doesn’t read what you type in other apps, apart from remembering things for spellings.

Gboard-search-contacts

“Gboard will remember words you type to help you with spelling or to predict searches you might be interested in, but this data is stored only on your device. This data is not accessible by Google or by any apps other than Gboard,” Google says.

In fact, you don’t even need to sign in to your Google account to use Gboard. You can also grant Gboard access to your contacts (a feature enabled in Settings), so that you can quickly share the details of anyone in your phone book.

Problems with Gboard

While it’s a wonderful keyboard app full of various likeable features, it isn’t perfect.

  • No Speech-to-Text: If you are used to talking to your iPhone and seeing your words translated into text Type Superfast With Real Time Voice Dictation in iOS 8 Type Superfast With Real Time Voice Dictation in iOS 8 It's time to do less typing and more talking with the new real time voice-to-text feature in iOS 8. Read More , you’ll be disappointed with Gboard. There is no speech-to-text option, unfortunately. This is completely Apple’s fault, since it restricts third-party keyboards from using the built-in dictation feature, but it’s sorely missing here.
  • iPad version isn’t good: I tried out Gboard on a first-gen iPad Mini. To be honest, I can’t see this replacing the default iPad keyboard. Its layout seems like a “stretched” version of the iPhone keyboard, rather than custom-designed for an iPad. I imagine it gets worse on a larger iPad keyboard, but even based on the Mini, I can’t recommend it.

Gboard-gif-define

  • Limited Languages: Right now, Gboard supports only English as the language you can use. Compared to most other third-party keyboards or even the default Apple keyboard, that is incredibly restricted. At a time when SwiftKey supports hybrid languages, this is a big miss. Hopefully Google will add more languages in the future, but at the moment, if multi-language support is important to you, skip this app.
  • Only in USA: At the time of writing, Gboard is only available in the US App Store. That said, if you’re not in America and you want to try it out, there’s a simple hack to download apps from the US App Store Anyone Can Download Apps From The US App Store: Here Is How Anyone Can Download Apps From The US App Store: Here Is How You need to jump through some hoops to create a US iTunes account and add funds to it, but if you know how, anyone can download and enjoy apps from the US App Store. Read More .

Comparing Gboard to Others

The big question, of course, is should you download Gboard, and how does it compare to other iPhone keyboards?

There are already some excellent GIF keyboards for iOS 5 More iOS 8 Keyboards That Support GIFs, Fancy Fonts & Themes 5 More iOS 8 Keyboards That Support GIFs, Fancy Fonts & Themes You will be amazed by what features can be packed into simple keyboard. Read More . Plus, keyboards like Swiftkey are brilliant and make up for Gboard’s shortcomings on the iPad front. Even if you don’t want to use third-party keyboards, the default iPhone keyboard is solid.

That said, Gboard feels like a taste of the future. Integrating search functionality into a keyboard is incredibly smart, and makes you wonder “why hasn’t anyone else done this yet?” It feels like what all keyboards should be like. If you use an iPhone, you need to get this now. And don’t worry, Google is working on perfecting the iPad version too.

Download: Gboard for iOS (Free)

Why Is Google Favoring Apple?

In a post on Product Hunt, Google product manager Bri Connelly said the company is working on a version for Android phones already, along with a multi-lingual version. But releasing this first on iOS is a surprising move.

We already know Microsoft loves Apple and iOS Microsoft Loves Apple – These Mac and iOS Apps Prove it Microsoft Loves Apple – These Mac and iOS Apps Prove it Stuffy, boring, insular. These are three adjectives that have been used to describe the Microsoft of yesteryear. But that Microsoft is gone. They've changed. Radically. Read More , but is Google now realizing that the iPhone is too big to ignore? Will we see more Google launches on iOS before Android itself?

What do you think, and have you tried Gboard? Share all in the comments below!

  1. Heiko
    August 5, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Bye bye 3D Touch. Back to the magnifying glass feature. That is a dealbreaker for me. Being able to use the Keyboard like a touchpad was a major asset of the 6 S. I'm never going back again...

  2. Alexis Taylor Akridge
    July 13, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    Loving it so far! Sleek and non-jerky so far. Thanks so much for the article!

  3. Alicia
    May 26, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Only available in USA, wtf?

  4. Pravin Kumar
    May 25, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    My longterm pal, TouchPal..

  5. Sand
    May 25, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    Still no row of numbers at the top.

  6. Pike
    May 25, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    MessagEase blows them ALL away!
    exideas.com

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