Why it matters to you
Gboard offers perhaps the most pleasant typing experience on Android, with a long list of features and endless customization options to tailor it to your style and usage.
Google is pushing out an update to Gboard on Android that brings with it a variety of improvements, mostly targeting customization, one-handed mode, and text editing. Version 6.2 is now live for beta users, and should be reaching everyone else over the coming days.
New to this release is a “floating keyboard” mode, which allows you to resize and move the keyboard around a window at the bottom of your phone’s display. In practice, it looks a little strange, but will no doubt be useful to anyone who wants a custom-tailored typing experience. Unfortunately, the space below the keyboard is still obscured no matter where it is placed, which diminishes some of the usefulness.
More: Google’s updated Search app comes with Gboard, Google’s third-party keyboard
There’s also a new editing panel that is sure to be a hit for those who find themselves always working on the go. With arrow keys, you can now move through entire sections of text and make more precise selections, instead of scrubbing through words with your fingers. Dedicated copy, paste, and select all buttons have also been built in. These functions are hidden away within the ‘G’ button on the top left of the keyboard.
One of the more entertaining additions involves suggested GIFs, which now pop up alongside predicted words based on what you’re typing. For example, typing “haha” will result in a “funny gif” button, that will lead you to a variety of responses.
Among the more minor changes, Google has now softened the key borders — if you choose to use them — into rounded rectangles. The effect is like a mashup of iOS’s QuickType keyboard and Android’s color schemes.
If you’d rather experience the new Gboard right away instead of waiting for the final release, you can sign up to beta test the app here.