page 2 of 3
Gboard provides an excellent solution to this common dilemma. Google search is integrated directly into the keyboard. While Gboard doesn’t offer full Google search capabilities, the subset of features makes sense for a keyboard. Users can easily look up information and add images and even animated GIFs to emails, iMessages and documents. Search results are presented in compact card format, as a full browser experience just wouldn’t fit. Users can even search for emojis by name or type. If you use your iPhone for written communication, Gboard is a must-have custom keyboard.
Gboard Features Excellent Glide Typing and Predictive Text Capabilities
When custom keyboards first appeared on the scene, I dismissed swiping as a fad. This is partly because I am a very fast typist. All the years of writing papers, code, documentation and emails have given me excellent typing skills. For other people, swiping may be faster.
Swiping makes a lot of sense on a small smartphone keyboard. The keys are small and crammed together in a compact area. This can make it easier to glide one’s fingers across the virtual keyboard instead of pecking at every key. I also find it easier to glide type with the Gboard keyboard when using one hand.
Like most people, I use my thumb when typing on my iPhone with one hand. Glide typing helps overcome the problem of using such a big finger on tiny keys. Glide typing predicts the word you trying to spell out quite accurately, even if your motions are not precise. Google excels at predictive computing, and this technology is integrated into Gboard’s swipe typing.
Gboard functions quite well as a predictive text keyboard. If you prefer typing to swiping, Gboard’s predictive text feature will cut down on keystrokes. The predictive suggestions are excellent and accurate. They’re about as good as what you’d get with the stock iOS keyboard. This is important, because it means you won’t need to swap out keyboards for most different use cases.
Gboard Space Bar Is a Track Pad
One of the coolest and often overlooked features of Gboard is the overloaded space bar functionality. In addition to inserting a blank space in your document and launching dictation, it also serves as a track pad. This comes in handy on an iPhone. Simply slide your finger over the space bar and you’ll see the cursor move. It’s a clever and useful addition to Google’s custom keyboard. The only issue is that I occasionally launch the dictation feature.
Gboard’s Dictation Needs Improvement
Overall, Gboard is an excellent custom keyboard, however, its dictation feature could use some improvement. Dictation is launched by holding down the space bar. Unlike the iOS keyboard, Gboard launches a whole new screen for dictation. Although some people may like this, I prefer just having the text appear within the working document. It just feels disjointed, as if I am using two apps instead of just a custom keyboard.
I personally haven’t had problems with Gboard’s dictation capabilities. I find dictation to be as good as with the stock iOS keyboard. next page →