Google is reportedly working on a third-party keyboard for iOS that would position its search engine in the most-used part of the interface, claims The Verge. The keyboard will include several search options, and the search giant has been working on it for months now, the report says, citing people familiar with the matter.
How its different from other keyboards?
Google’s keyboard will include several features to differentiate it from the other iOS keyboards. Similar to the Android one, Google’s iOS keyboard will come with gesture-based typing to speed it up. To access traditional web search, a user will need to press the Google logo.
Google’s new keyboard is expected to have separate buttons for picture and GIF searches. Both buttons are assumed to be powered by Google’s image search. Google’s iOS keyboard is believed to be visually different from the standard Android keyboard, which comes with voice search but not text or image-based searching.
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Google employees have reportedly been using the keyboard for months now, the report says. As of now, there is no information on whether or when Google plans to release it.
Why Google needs an iOS keyboard
Though Google has almost a monopoly in the global search market, there is evidence that mobile search is less lucrative for than desktop. In October, journalist Charles Arthur claimed that half of smartphone users conduct zero searches per day, compared to an average of 1.23 searches per day for desktop users.
It has been seen that a high percentage of searches on desktops are for terms like “Facebook” or “Gmail,” but such searches are irrelevant on mobile phones as users have separate apps for them. The problem for Google is that search is an area in which it shows its most expensive ads. Thus, any decline in it impacts its revenue.
So coming up with an iOS keyboard can be seen as a smart move from the search giant, but it will be interesting to watch whether or not iOS users like Google’s approach to typing, as when it comes to iPhones and iPads, third-party keyboards have largely been a disappointment. Nevertheless, Google’s strong brand name may make the keyboard popular among users who perform many searches per day.