Accessing this feature is as simple as tapping on the “G” icon, which allows you to search without even leaving the keyboard. “Say you’re texting with a friend about tomorrow’s lunch plans. They ask you for the address,” writes Google Principal Engineer Rajan Patel. “Until now it’s worked like this: You leave your texting app. Open Search. Find the restaurant. Copy the address. Switch back to your texts. Paste the address into a message. And finally, hit send.”
Now you don’t have to switch over to Safari (or even Chrome for iOS) to find a quick bit of information while you’re typing away. It saves the users from having to switch in and out of applications, which in turn saves time and increases productivity. And it of course means increased search traffic for Google if people are more willing to perform a quick search within Gboard.
You can search for anything from flight times to restaurants to news articles. Heck, you can even search for that perfect emoji to add to a chat or perhaps a funny GIF to lighten the mood. When you find the emoji or GIF the you want, just tap on it and it’s automatically copied so that you can paste it into your text field. Gboard also includes Glide Typing which lets you slide your finger from key to key, improving word output (and making it easier to type one-handed).
Gboard is available as a free download right now (English language only) from the iTunes App Store.