When Apple finally allowed third party keyboards to be used on iOS, it opened up the flood gates for app developers to try and swoop in and conquer the market. Or at least that was the theory. The state of those keyboards and Apple’s implementation of the system, however, still leave much to be desired. That said, it has opened up the opportunity for Apple’s rivals to also take a stab at it. According to sources, Google is one of those, and its virtual keyboard for iOS might end up with a few more features than its Android counterpart.
Virtual keyboards these days are no longer the simple input systems they were a few years back. In order to differentiate themselves beyond more common features, developers have tacked on additional features that are sometimes gimmicky, sometimes actually useful. Google’s keyboard is somewhat in between, with additional features unsurprisingly geared towards search.
For the basics, the Google Keyboard for iOS will supposedly also have gesture input, meaning that swiping action that has become more common among keyboards, except for Apple’s. That is pretty much on par with the Android version, but that’s where the similarities end. The iOS version will supposedly have more search-related functionality than the Android version, which is limited to doing search by voice.
The Google iOS keyboard will have dedicated buttons for doing web searches as well as image and GIF searches, all powered by Google search of course. It is a not so subtle strategy to get iOS users searching more, using Google’s search engine, of course. Despite having its own mobile platform, Google has long accepted that it cannot ignore the iPhone using masses. After all, thousands of users searching on their iPhones is definitely good for business. And search, and the accompanying ads, is Google’s main business after all.
Unfortunately for Google, users are apparently searching less and less on their smartphones. While the jury is still out on the statistical data for that claim, it does raise some concerns about Google’s primary business on mobile, particularly on Apple’s platforms. Google reported paid Apple $1 billion just to keep its presence in the iPhone’s Search Bar. A third party keyboard would yet be another, and possibly quicker, way to get users searching again. Provided, of course, Google will be able to implement the keyboard in a way that will draw in iPhone users by the droves.
VIA: The Verge