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Thursday, 16 June 2016 10:34

Google Put Search Front and Center in Its Keyboard App, But It Sucks

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Google earlier today released its first-ever iOS keyboard app. Called Gboard, the keyboard ticks all the boxes you’d expect from a third-party keyboard app here in 2016, including glide typing (so you don’t have to lift your finger every time you type a different character) and the ability to call upon GIF after GIF directly from the keyboard. Google even integrated search directly into the app, but its implementation could use a bit of work.

For a 1.0 release Gboard isn’t bad, but there are a couple foibles that probably should have been addressed before the keyboard app was released. When inside the Safari web browser, for example, Gboard does not offer up autocomplete suggestions for words you might want to type next. Typing “new” in competing app SwiftKey brings up a series of useful suggestions like “York,” but typing the same in Gboard brings up… nothing. Conversely, typing “new” with Gboard inside a messaging app like Google Hangouts does produce a series of word suggestions. Strange.

 

For a 1.0 release Gboard isn’t bad, but there are a couple foibles that probably should have been addressed before the keyboard app was released. When inside the Safari web browser, for example, Gboard does not offer up autocomplete suggestions for words you might want to type next. Typing “new” in competing app SwiftKey brings up a series of useful suggestions like “York,” but typing the same in Gboard brings up… nothing. Conversely, typing “new” with Gboard inside a messaging app like Google Hangouts does produce a series of word suggestions. Strange. 

 Other wrinkles abound. You can search for news topics directly from the keyboard by tapping the “G” icon, and doing so while inside Safari produces a carrousel of stories from a variety of different sources—great, right? A search for “trump” first turns up a truncated version of Google’s own Knowledge Graph summary of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. Swiping toward the left then cycles through different news stories: Right now (around 12:30pm ET) there’s a one-hour old story from CNN, a three-hour old story from the New York Times, and a half-hour old story from The Washington Post.

The problem lies in then actually trying to read these stories. Rather than let you tap the card itself to take you to the story (doing so merely pastes a non-working link into the Safari address bar), you have to tap the comparatively tiny “arrow” icon to be whisked away to, say, the CNN story about Trump’s meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan. I’m on a mobile device, and screen real estate is at a premium, and yet I have to practically squint to find the link to the story? Not great.

Of course, this is merely the first release of Gboard, and I’m sure Google will eventually iron out the wrinkles. 

Source:  http://motherboard.vice.com/read/google-gboard-ios-keyboard-app?trk_source=recommended

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