After about a year of incremental updates to version 4.1, Google Keyboard 5.0 is now available and has a whole lot of improvements worth of a whole number change.
The previous version of Google Keyboard addressed a bug that caused users to lose auto-correction, suggestions, and gesture typing. And the update before that one delivered a couple hundred new emojis, but version 5.0 dwarfs all of that.
With the latest version of its keyboard app, Google has overhauled the user interface and folded more functionality into the mix. For starters, users can shift the shape and the size of the keyboard on the fly and with one hand.
A user can switch to one-handed mode with one hand tied behind his or her back, after using a digit on the other hand to hold down the comma key - long-pressing the key toggles between one-handed and standard modes.
Along with one-handed mode toggle, users have a new tool for specifying just how much screen Google Keyboard takes up. Users can adjust the new Keyboard Height slider from "Short" to "Tall" to resize Google Keyboard to however big or small they want it to be.
Other big changes to Google Keyboard include the ability to show and hide key borders, which offers an aid in visibility and serves as a solution that effectively kills keyboard holo themes.
Elsewhere in the massive update, Google introduced some new gesture commands that users of the Swype keyboard will find familiar. Swiping the Delete key to the left deletes words, and a left or right swipe across the space bar moves the keyboard cursor in the corresponding direction.
The floating window for suggested text is gone, along with the toggle to it. Predicted words now appear in the Suggestions bar instead of in that floating words window, which would cover parts of the keyboard as it followed users' fingers.
Google Keyboard version 5.0 is already hitting the Play Store, though it wasn't made available to all at first. For those looking for another way to get it, APKMirror is mirroring copies of the APK and they can be downloaded here.