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Google Releases iOS Keyboard With Search Integration

By Evan Niu, CFA - May 12, 2016 at 1:00PM

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Big G is hijacking the iPhone keyboard.

Gboard for iOS. Image source: Google.

What happened?

Alphabet's (GOOG -3.00%)(GOOGL -2.91%) Google has just released a new third-party keyboard for Apple's (AAPL -2.80%) iOS mobile platform. The new keyboard, Gboard, includes a wide range of extra features such as Glide Typing, searchable emojis and GIFs, but most important, it integrates search functionalities.

The search integration can find and share things like addresses, Web links, and more. The goal is to reduce app switching by allowing users to use Google search at any time directly from the keyboard itself.

Does it matter?

Google has been subtly invading iOS for many years now, offering a wide range of apps and services that expand its reach deep within Apple's platform. The news comes shortly after Microsoft also released a third-party iOS keyboard, Word Flow, as the software giant has begun adopting a similar strategy to cater to iOS users.

Gboard is a clever and ambitious move because while including search in a keyboard sounds potentially overreaching, it offers very tangible functionality and benefits to users while giving Google a newfound presence that permeates the interface -- you'll see Google on your keyboard regardless of what app you're using. This could be one of Google's smartest iOS invasion plays yet.

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