Google is reportedly working on an iOS keyboard that brings key features to the iPhone, including Google's image and text search functions. (GIFs, yay!) According to The Verge, the keyboard has been in development and testing for months, and will act much like the Android version.
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It will include gesture typing (sliding your finger from one letter to the next), just like on Android, but will add easy web search functions in the form of keyboard buttons. Tap the Google logo for traditional web search, or tap dedicated buttons for photo and GIF searches.
With image (and especially GIF) sharing becoming more and more popular, these additions are clear improvements over the stock iOS keyboard, which doesn't include any such search functions. Not like it's hard to just double-tap your home button and scroll to Safari, or use a third-party keyboard specifically for GIFs, but hey, technology is all about convenience.
At time of writing, Google hasn't released an official comment, so this information from The Verge is based solely on "people familiar with the matter."
The article did make the interesting point that as smartphones increasingly use dedicated apps to access websites directly, Google's Search, and thus its revenue source of ads and data mining, diminishes. Putting search functions right into the keyboard makes it that much easier to fall into Google's web, so a Google keyboard for iOS is a move that makes sense.
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