Google’s Gboard keyboard for phones has always had impressive functionality. You can use it search Google from anywhere you access your keyboard for example, letting you do things like find cinema times and restaurant locations without leaving the group chat. Now, the company is upgrading Gboard for iOS, adding a big feature that’s long been absent — voice dictation.
If you have downloaded the latest version of Gboard and updated it on your iPhone or iPad, you can access voice dictation (which Google calls “voice typing”) by long-pressing the space bar. This takes you to a new screen with a mic interface. The transcription quality is good, but the integration is clunky compared to the default iOS keyboard, which does all the work directly within whichever app you’re using.
Other new features for iOS Gboard include support for new languages (15 in total, including Dutch, Russian, Malay, and Polish), access to the latest emoji, and quick access to Google’s Doodles — the animations that appear to celebrate events, holidays, and anniversaries on the Google home page. On Doodle days, the “G” logo in Gboard will animate. Click it to see the Doodle.
These new features are only available for iOS at the moment, but it’s fair to assume they’ll be making their way to the Android version of the app soon.