The latest beta version of Gboard is rolling out now, carrying a feature that's long been in development for the Android version: the ability to create custom GIFs.
That option has actually been live on Gboard for iOS since this past January, and for some odd reason, Google left it out of the Android version without explaining why.
Gboard version 7.2 also gets minor visual tweaks, such as a better layout for search cards, and a brand-new sticker gallery.
How To Make A GIF Using Gboard
To make a GIF on the updated Gboard app for Android, simply navigate over to the new "My GIFs" tab to the right of "Recently used." This section now features a "Make a GIF" button indicated by a plus sign.
Tap that to launch the camera interface, which shows a simple layout with three buttons: a shutter on the bottom, a "rotate" toggle beside it, and a button to show/hide a carousel of filters. There are currently seven filters available, ranging from question marks to breaking news to flowers. GIFs can be up to three seconds long and they loop by default, just like on Instagram's Boomerang mode. GIFs can be saved in the tab for later use.
Search cards on Gboard get minor visual tweaks. There's now a "View more" text in the bottom right corner of every card, and clicking this opens it in a browser. It's less confusing than the previous layout, which only featured an icon.
Gboard now features a massive gallery of stickers. Head over to the "Stickers" tab, tap the plus icon, and choose "Get stickers" to access a library of over 500 stickers, some of which have previously appeared on Allo, Google's alternative messaging platform. Some of the stickers are animated, which should help users express certain emotions that can't be articulated with a simple emoji. Sticker packs can be saved to the favorites tab for later use.
Gboard version 7.2 is still in beta, so some of these features, if not all, might be absent on majority of Android phones. Android Police notes that the GIF creator is already live on Pixel phones, but not on the Samsung Galaxy S9. Expect the app to undergo a few more rounds of testing before finally rolling out in stable form.