Citing unnamed "people familiar with the matter", The Verge reports that Google has been hard at work for the last few months developing a custom keyboard for iOS, which is said to be more powerful than the default Android keyboard and will include "a variety of search options".
According to the report, the new keyboard has been tested by various Google employees and was created as a new way to funnel more searches to Google on iOS devices. Apparently, the company sees more potential for growth in the mobile search market compared to PCs, as Google's own metrics show that half of smartphone users perform less than one Google search per day.
Google's keyboard for iOS is said to feature gesture-based typing, which allows Google to guess words as you slide your fingers from letter to letter, as well as voice search. However, the report also claims that there are some key differences that will make it stand out when compared to the default Android keyboard, such as "distinct buttons for pictures and GIF searches", which are meant to encourage people to do Google searches more often.
Support for third-party keyboards was introduced by Apple in iOS 8, which prompted the arrival of several offerings from Android developers such as Swype and Swiftkey, not to mention the fact that even Microsoft is porting its "Word Flow" keyboard to iOS. It looks like Google may be joining the train as well.
The report doesn't mention a time frame for the arrival of Google's iOS keyboard.
Do you use a third-party keyboard on your iOS device? Let us know in the comments section below.
Source: The Verge