The world’s biggest search engine is planning a new way to get its software onto Apple products, The Verge is reporting. It’s a Google iPhone keyboard that developers hope will trump the stock iOS one.
Third-party keyboards are nothing new, but very few actually have a shot at replacing Apple’s as the go-to typing tool either because of pointless features or shoddy design. But we think that if anyone’s going to give it a running start, it’s Google.
The Google keyboard “would put the company’s search engine in a highly used part of the interface,” The Verge says. Depending on how high adoption it sees, it could provide the company a way to drive traffic from a spot that’s usually purely functional.
Google’s offering will share features with its existing Android version, including Gesture Typing for fast text entry. It lets users swipe between letters without lifting their thumb, and then the program offers to autocomplete. This is nothing new to fans of another third-party keyboard, Swype, which also boasts gesture-based typing and a better prediction system than the one built into iOS.
The Google iPhone keyboard will also offer individual buttons for web, image, and GIF searches, The Verge reports. These are likely all part of the company’s plan to up its mobile traffic by encouraging frequent, almost invisible inquiries within conversations.
While the app “has been in circulation among [Google] employees for months,” we have no word on when to expect it, or even if the company even plans to launch it. But if it’s looking for a way to boost traffic, and therefore revenue, from mobile platforms, a good keyboard seems like a solid bet.