A little over a year ago, Google unveiled Gboard, an on-screen keyboard for Android and iPhone devices.
I wasn’t an early adopter. In fact, I wondered why anyone would need an alternate keyboard when Apple’s is perfectly fine.
How wrong I was.
I’ve now been trying out Gboard for a little over a week and can definitively say it’s changed how I type, send messages, find emoji, use GIFs, and search Google.
In fact, it’s such a upgrade from the standard iPhone keyboard that I don’t know if I’ll ever go back.
Here are some of my favorite features:
1. It’s easier to find and send GIFs
Gboard makes it easy to find GIFs and share them without leaving a conversation. You can either search through categories like “High five,” “Cheers,” or “Thumbs up,” or you can type in a search term and scroll through Google’s suggestions. To share the GIF, you just tap on it to copy it and then paste it in the text field.
2. You can search for a specific emoji
One of the iPhone keyboard’s major flaws is in how it organizes and helps you find emoji. Apple sorts emoji by category. But it can be hard to remember where to find the more obscure or abstract symbols. (I, for one, can never remember where the heart emoji live).
Gboard makes it a lot easier to quickly find emoji. If you type in a search term, it will display all the relevant emoji so you can choose the one you want to send. This particular feature has already saved me several minutes of hunting.
3. Google search is built in
Probably the best part of Gboard is that it has Google search built in. That means you never have to leave a conversation when you’re trying to look something up or make plans. If you find something worth sharing via the search tool, you can paste it directly into your conversation without having to leave the app.