In a move that UK iPhone users have been eagerly awaiting, Google’s new third-party Gboard app has finally hit British shores. The app was originally released a month ago in the US, but the British public has had to wait until now to get its hands on the extension’s many useful features.

To take advantage of Gboard, users simply need to download it from the App store and follow the prompts. Once it is set as the default keyboard, a circular button will appear at the top left of the phone’s keyboard. This will allow users to search the web using Google without leaving whatever app they happen to be using at the time, and they will also be able to search for GIFs in the same way.

The results will appear in the form of Material Design cards with the most relevant information placed at the forefront, whether it’s opening hours, a phone number, or something else entirely depending on the context. Users will also be able to send their search results and links to friends from directly inside iMessage and other apps without switching between them using just a single tap.

Another useful feature is the keyboard’s ability to swiftly find emoji by searching for them using key phrases. This means that users won’t have to scroll through page after page to find the one that perfectly captures their mood.

Gboard also offers a feature known as “glide typing”. This allows people to swipe between characters on their keyboard without needing to lift their finger up off of the screen. This has long been a part of Android keyboards. Until now, iOS users could only access such functionality via third-party apps like Swype.

Those features aside, however, the keyboard looks and feels much like the standard iOS 9 keyboard, right down to the predictive text bar that sits just above the keyboard. This means it will be relatively easy for change-averse users to adjust to it.

Earlier this week, Apple announced a number of changes that will be introduced to iMessage with the release of iOS 10 later this fall. Among them is a new rich media system that will allow users to embed videos and web links in the form of “Cards”. However, there do not appear to be any plans in the works to provide the in-app searching functionality that Gboard offers.

The Gboard app is now available for download from the App Store.

Tobias Matthews

Tobias Matthews


Writer at Fourth Source.