For years, Android has been around with a basic default keyboard. But in 2016, Google released its own keyboard, appropriately named Gboard. It became the default keyboard for standard Android mobile devices, and anyone could install it from the Play Store Currently, Gboard is only installed on over a billion Android devices.
There is also an iOS version that has a lot more features than the standard iOS keyboard (but we’ll focus on the Android keyboard in this article). It has everything from typing gestures to customizing the keyboard. Not to mention a full-fledged Google search engine inside your keyboard. But what is Gboard and why is Gboard superior to other keyboards? Let’s get a look.
What is Gboard?
Gboard is also available as a third-party keyboard for iPhone users (it lacks many features compared to the Android version, but the basic functionality is the same). While iPhone users need to go to the Settings app to enable the keyboard, using Gboard is well worth it.
Google Search from Gboard
This is a feature that no other keyboard has. Google mini search function right on the keyboard. In the iPhone app, you’ll find the G icon on the right side of the toolbar. In Android app, the search function is in the menu, but you can also drag it to the toolbar.
Using Google search, you can search for anything on the Internet. You will find the search results in the keyboard itself, and you can click on the result to paste it into the text box instantly.
This is great when you are in a group chat and need to find a link and share it (no more need to go in and out of the browser).
Share GIFs and Emojis
No need to install another dedicated keyboard for GIF. You can search and find GIFs (as well as emojis) right in Gboard. On your keyboard, tap the emoji icon and go to the GIF section.
Any GIF from Google’s vast library can be found here. Just click on the GIF to send it to chat.
And there are Gboard stickers too
Google has also added support for stickers. In the same Emoji section, you will find a new tab for stickers. You can explore the available stickers as well as add stickers from the store. Gboard supports Bitmoji, so you can create and add your own stickers or emoticons right from your keyboard!
Swipe to type
Swype was the first app to implement a gesture suite, but it is now available on many major third-party keyboards and keyboards by default. And Gboard is no exception. You will get fast gesture typing where you can simply swipe your finger across the letters to form words.
Google’s prediction engine is pretty good here, so even if you play around a bit, Gboard will still suggest the correct word (if not, you can always use the suggestion bar to quickly switch to a related word).
Quickly select and delete text
Google has also added smaller text highlighting gestures commonly found on service keyboards. You can swipe left or right on the space bar to quickly move the cursor left or right.
Want to quickly delete a word or word pair? It usually takes a long time to press the delete key to delete one letter at a time. In Gboard, you can simply swipe left from the Delete key to select letters and words. Once the words are highlighted, simply lift your finger from the keyboard to delete them.
Or Use Text Editing Features
If you need more precision, you can use the text edit mode (you will find it in the menu on the toolbar).
Here you will find arrow keys for all four directions, a selection function, and the ability to jump to the end or beginning of text. You will also find buttons to quickly copy, paste, or select all of the text.
Write in multiple languages ??
Gboard does integrate Google Translate into the keyboard. But you can go further and use multiple languages.
- On the toolbar, click the gear icon to open Gboard settings.
- Here go to the “Languages” section and click “Add keyboard”.
- Now select the language you want to add.
- You can now customize the language keyboard. By default, Gboard selects the English translation version, but you can also directly select the language keyboard. Click the Finish button to save your changes.
- Back on your keyboard, press and hold the globe icon to see a list of all languages. Select your language to switch to it.
Gboard has a one-handed keyboard mode and a floating keyboard, so you can type however you like.
In floating keyboard mode, you can drag the keyboard anywhere and also resize it. In one-handed mode, you can attach the keyboard to either side of the screen.
Personalize to your heart’s content
Gboard comes with a stellar collection of themes with solid colors, landscapes and gradients. You will find them in Settings> Theme. If you go to the “Settings” section in the settings, you will see options to enable the numeric string and emoji toggle key.
In the Layout section you can increase the height of the keyboard. You will also see options for customizing keystrokes.
These are the main features that make Gboard better than other keyboards. The Gboard app also has a lot of small features. Share your favorite Gboard features with us in the comments below!
If you’re having problems with Gboard, read our Gboard troubleshooting guide