Pros: Glide is really well done if you like it. I'm not a glide person (and haven't taken the time to get used to it), so it's nice you can disable it if you'd like. Emoji auto-suggest is pretty fun, I've been tempted to use it in emails but avoided it for now. :) The dictionary it populates from your commonly used words is fairly aggressive (which I like), so it picks up on unique words quickly (and it is easy to clear/reset this list at any time). Being able to send people animates gifs with ease over txt message or whatever service is pretty fun. Overall it's pretty easy to type on, just takes a little getting used to compared to the default iOS keyboard (finger detection differs slightly), but I'm able to type just as fast on it.
Cons: Most of my issues are really due to the API limitations Apple has in place. This keyboard is disabled on password fields (as are all 3rd party keyboards). There is no voice dictation (siri or Google's). You have to paste in images from the search (the keyboard can't auto-insert images for you, but text only search results can be auto-pasted with "share"). Landscape mode on an iPhone 6s takes up lots of screen real estate.
The opinions stated here are my own, not necessarily those of Google.
It's frustrating to have the "Google" wordmark always shown on top of the keyboard's search results, since it uses up another 10% of the screen real estate for no value at all. Just a pure branding play that doesn't help the user solve their actual goal.
I think I had the same false-negative problem you are describing with 3D touch trackpad, but it seemed to get a lot better for me with the iOS 9.3 release. Maybe I'm imagining it, but it seemed like there were improvements to whatever algorithm determines a user's intention for normal vs 3D touch.
On the other hand, maybe I trained myself to their algorithm. It seems like starting with light contact and increasing pressure is a more reliable trigger than just going in with firm pressure right away.
Most companies I've ever worked at (like Cisco) are very explicit that you can't talk at all about stuff your company does (unless you are a VP or granted permission to talk on their behalf). You will see many Googlers talk on forums like this and they don't need permission, but are doing so on their own without the explicit permission from the company. Google seems to be open about letting us speak publicly about stuff our company does, but that we aren't speaking on their behalf. I feel it needs to be made explicitly clear to anyone reading it that it's my own opinion.
I actually understand now why so many iphone aficionados don't like the idea of this kind of typing.
> What Gboard sends to Google:
> When you do a search, Gboard sends your query to Google’s web servers so Google can process your query and send you search results. Gboard also sends anonymous statistics to Google to help us diagnose problems when the app crashes and to let us know which features are used most often.
> What Gboard doesn’t send to Google:
> Everything else. Gboard will remember words you type to help you with spelling or to predict searches you might be interested in, but this data is stored only on your device. This data is not accessible by Google or by any apps other than Gboard.
(edit: my mistake, I thought you were raising privacy concerns, not saying that your concerns were assuaged)
It makes me a bit sad to recognize that my first thoughts and reactions to many Google announcements these days—even silly and playful ones—is to start ticking off and formulating potential vectors for identifying and collecting things about me that can be turned into juicy bits for advertisers.
On Google's Q1 2016 earning call, Ruth Porat described how they were seeing lots of growth in mobile, but a compression in net margin. This was because traffic acquisition costs (TAC) on mobile are higher. Gboard could be a really effective measure to reverse that trend.
Gboard gets Google onto the iPhone almost at a "hypervisor" level. Every app with text input (especially Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram) will have Google branding when the keyboard is up and all the features that Gboard brings. Google is doing really well in the AI space as well, so expect to see more intelligent features integrated into Gboard as it matures.
I doubt I'll use this keyboard. I have an iPhone 5 so screen space is limited and I don't want to waste it on a big Google logo in my keyboard. Plus, I can't see that I'll have much use for it.
To which Rajan Patel replied:
>"@daringfireball ..[we should go all the way w/ design]..
There's no need to copy-and-paste the passwords either since it fills the form field for you.
I think this looks really good, doesn't seem to be in the UK App Store yet or I'd have installed it already.
The searching existing on-screen context / inserting relevant data is actually MUCH better on Android in the form of Now On Tap, which came out with Android M around this time last year - http://gizmodo.com/google-now-on-tap-hands-on-contextual-awe... . It has the added benefit of looking at what's on your screen to figure out what you want vs the new iOS keyboard where you have to click the G, then type in whatever you were interested in again.
This app is basically just trying to cram as much as they can into the keyboard, since they can't offer an option like Now On Tap on iOS due to Apple restrictions.
If you're sending a Hangouts message (Google account to Google account) it works just fine. Otherwise, even if you roll all your SMS/MMS activity into the Hangouts app, no dice.
I don't think it's "cramming it in" when that's the main benefit of the system.
After a few seconds of analyzing the screenshot it finally came back with a "no results found" screen with a Google Search field at the top.
I typed in "dancing cat gif".
Switched to the Google Now app for results.
Tapped Images to get image results.
Found the gif I wanted, tapped on the gif.
Gif opened and played. Pressed and held on the gif, nothing happened because Google Now doesn't let you press & hold to save images.
Much of the creativity comes with figuring out how to circumventing that constraint, or how to flourish within it.
Anybody familiar with the iOS APIs for this to know if it's an "always on" type of thing? i.e. can they use this to track everything typed everywhere as long as the keyboard is enabled or does it require the "G" button like in the pic?
This seems pretty sketchy.
the app store description is pretty clear on what it actually sends to google, and it's actually less than what most keyboards send - swype, the standard google keyboard on android, and i think most others send everything up to their respective servers so they can sync personalized predictions across devices, this keyboard only sends the queries that you explicitly ask google to search for.
You have to either trust that google isn't flat-out lying, or try to MITM and analyze the traffic using something like wireshark, which would be difficult assuming it's properly encrypted.
I don't care about gifs or emojis. One of the only things I miss on iOS as an ~8-year user of Android is the swiping keyboard. This gets you that.
Additionally, I think the privacy of using this keyboard without "full access" is better than using the android builtin keyboard. Unless google is doing some side-channel attack (is this possible? seems harder than on android) to funnel your keystrokes out through some other google app on your phone which does have internet access, it's just a dumb keyboard.
Now, the sketchiness of guiding users to turn on "allow full access" by default... well. It would be paternalistic for me (as an armchair privacy enthusiast) to say "google shouldn't be encouraging the general population to divulge their keystrokes".
It should probably not surprise you that the authors of your keyboard software are theoretically capable of seeing what you type on your keyboard though, if you think about it.
User @colinbartlett above says Google explicitly states what is sent, however. So am I right that it looks like we are trusting Google with what they say they are sending? I'm ok with that, I think.
What a shame. I know plenty of people here in Poland who have their phone languages set to English for convenience. Let alone the English speakers in other English-speaking lands - I guess I can understand local English variants presenting a few minor issues, at least.
No real interest in the search part, though.
For anyone interested, you do NOT need to "Allow full access" to use the general swiping feature of the keyboard. I think that permission is to allow the keyboard to collect data, do searches with it etc...
Personally, I don't feel comfortable with that option enabled despite the convenience of virtual keyboard based search. Very smart move by Google, though. Another door opens to get your eyes on those ads.
Every other keyboard I've tried I've started hating pretty immediately. Maybe it's Google's RDF at work, or maybe they just figured out how to leverage iOS autocorrect/suggestions a little better. Either way, I'm hooked.
And yes, I know that "good autocorrect" being my biggest complaint, maybe I could type more accurately. But honestly isn't this the point of AI?
If this keyboard proves to be more stable than other slide keyboards (SwiftKey / TouchPal), then it stays!