According to a report from The Verge, Google is building its own third-party keyboard for iOS and has been doing so for “months.” While it’s unclear when or if the keyboard will be released, the report notes of several features Google has been working to implement as employees test it.
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For one, Google’s keyboard is said to be gesture-based, must like SwiftKey and Swipe, which are already available for iOS. Furthermore, the keyboard will supposedly feature word prediction, much like the built-in iOS keyboard.
Given that Google is a search company at heart, the ability to quickly perform queries from the keyboard is reportedly there. Users would be able to tap the Google logo on the keyboard to instantly perform a web search, the report claims. There will also supposedly be built-in GIF and image search functionalities powered by Google Image Search, something that Google’s keyboard on Android lacks.
Google’s motive to release an iOS keyboard is pretty clear. Doing so would undoubtedly drive searches performed through Google thanks to the rumored built-in quick search button on the keyboard. Search, of course, is where Google shows its most expensive ads, so to keep growing its search business is an important task for the company.
Although, one thing Google would have to keep in mind is that third-party keyboards have never been incredibly popular on iOS. Support for third-party keyboards was added in iOS 8, but many users have opted to stick with the default keyboard from Apple. Whether or not Google is able to sway users remains to be seen. With features like built-in GIF and image search, not to mention Google’s history of building quality software for iOS, the company’s offering definitely sounds tempting.