Google Updates Gboard For Android With Instant Language Translation, Themes, Emoji Suggestions, And More
Google is bringing a host of improvements to Gboard, its smart proprietary keyboard for iOS and Android, although this update benefits only the latter. The update includes a new instant translation feature that will translate any type of text one types into another language in real time, GIFs, emoji suggestions, and a handful more.
Instant Language Translation With Gboard
The translate feature expands upon Google's Now on Tap integration last year, which lets users hold down the home button to translate any blocks of foreign text visible onscreen. This time, however, the time it takes to type then subsequently translate will be shortened — Gboard will automatically do it as the user inputs text, which also negates having to translate language manually using Google's standalone Translate app.
To start automatically translating as one types, simply tap the top left "G" icon above the keyboard, select the Translate icon, adjust the intended input and output language, and that's basically it. The keyboard takes care of the rest.
Of course, some languages will work better than others, owing to Google's major update to its Translate ecosystem, which brought the Google Neural Machine Translation system to a number of languages across the platform. In a nutshell, this system takes into account whole sentences and context to output better translations, instead of choppy, fragmented ones.
More Keyboard Themes
The new updated Gboard also lets users personalize keyboard themes by selecting from a broad cache of scenic views, says Google. Users may select a scenic view and turn it into the app's backdrop through the app's settings. Google also says that additional themes will be released down the line.
Emoji, GIF Suggestions
Apple's keyboard already sprouts suggested emoji as the user types, which is always useful, considering the time and effort it takes just to find the right one among a huge collection of them. Gboard, however, will take it up a notch by offering suggested GIF searches, giving users just the comedic tie-ins they need with their messages. These GIFs may also be shared using other apps as well, including Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Hangouts, and Google's own messaging service Allo.
With the update, Gboard's voice typing feature also gains an updated interface, which makes it easier for users to toggle voice or text typing back and forth. Finally, tapping the G icon will bring up a lot of extra functionality, including web, GIF, and emoji search features.
Gboard was first released for iOS, followed by Android nearly seven months later. The headline feature of the keyboard is of course search, expediting the whole process directly within the keyboard itself instead of shifting to another app for that purpose alone.
"Searching and sending stuff on your phone shouldn't be that difficult. With Gboard, you can search and send all kinds of things — restaurant info, flight times, news articles — right from your keyboard," Google said in a blog post. "Anything you'd search on Google, you can search with Gboard."