Google reportedly developing iOS soft keyboard with search functions

in iPhone edited March 2016
Google might soon make its way into a feature of iOS used by millions of people everyday, as the Internet search giant is supposedly crafting a third-party keyboard with gesture-based input and built-in Web search functionality.

People familiar with Google's plans told The Verge that the unnamed keyboard project has been in development for months and is currently being used or tested by a select group of Google employees. It is unclear whenGoogle plans to release the product, if ever, but for a company reliant on digital ad revenue the promise of embedding search engine capability across iOS is undoubtedly tantalizing.

While a working example has yet to surface publicly, sources say Google's keyboard supports gesture-based typing in the style of popular solutions like Swype or SwiftKey. In addition to usability, the keyboard sports a Google logo that, when tapped, executes a Web search. Whether or not that search takes place within the keyboard interface is unknown, though Apple applies strict policies for products that affect UI components deemed essential to the iOS user experience.

Google's iOS keyboard also appears to sport dedicated search buttons for pictures and GIFs, which the publication believes are routed through Google image search.

Apple first opened access to third-parties with iOS 8 in 2014.


  • Reply 1 of 15
    For security reasons, I'm not a fan of 3rd party keyboards, but maybe this will result in Apple improving the default iOS keyboard (I find the keys too small, like the Apple Watch lock screen was at first, and wish there were less dead space between the keys.)
  • Reply 2 of 15
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,750member
    There is no way Google will get a native app on my iOS device.
    pscooter63cornchipkevin keeJanNL
  • Reply 3 of 15
    Not going to let those chodes farm my information through their spyware. Suck it Google.
  • Reply 4 of 15
    Google should just make a USB keyboard with built-in connection to Google. Just bypass the default search engine in your browser.
  • Reply 5 of 15

     If you don't want people to know what you're doing -- perhaps you shouldn't be typing it into a Google keyboard! 
    edited March 2016 cornchipkevin keejony0
  • Reply 6 of 15
    sergiozsergioz Posts: 273member
    Thats sounds like a Holy Grail of Big Data for Google! People that will install it, will teach the world about us all. Because who writes now days any way? 
    kevin kee
  • Reply 7 of 15
    mejsricmejsric Posts: 135member
    FBI should create one too..
  • Reply 8 of 15
    You mean: a keylogger for morons.
    cornchipkevin keemejsric[Deleted User]Herbivore2
  • Reply 9 of 15
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,422member
    Gotta figure out what people on iOS are searching for somehow…
    kevin keebloodstains
  • Reply 10 of 15
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,200member
    kevin kee
  • Reply 11 of 15

    I wonder what the App Store policies are for apps that "phone home". Are they even allowed?

  • Reply 12 of 15
    TuuborTuubor Posts: 40member
    Yah, no way Google.  :smiley: I'll stick with the default keyboard and Duckduckgo on all of my devices thank you.
  • Reply 13 of 15
    Google tried to usurp the mobile market with Android. That effort has been successful in achieving dominant marketshare, but monetization of the OS has been poor. iOS has nearly all of the profits. 

    So Google needs to find a way to embed some product on iOS to allow data mining of that demographic. The logical conclusion is that Google's search product is beginning to fail on iOS. Web apps are replacing the browser search engine  and a big problem for Google. 

    They now want to develop a keyboard that functions as a keystroke logger? No thanks Google. 

    I doubt that the keyboard is installed even to a minimal degree once the public truly learns what it is. 

    All of my devices are Google free zones. 
  • Reply 14 of 15
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,516member
    If even a small fraction of the 100s of millions of iOS users are converted to Google's keyboard, Google will obtain a significant sampling of all users' input, and thus be informed about all users. "Significant" could be as few as 25,000 Google keyboard users among a total population of 500 million iOS users or merely 0.005% of the total.
    Less likely: if a large enough fraction of iOS users are converted, it would reduce Google's payments to Apple for the right to have Google be the default search engine.

    Just say "no" to third party keyboard extensions. (This mantra applied even before the present rumor.)
    edited March 2016
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