Gesture typing, where users can type out words by dragging their fingers across the screen, was perhaps the last big update to Android's stock keyboard. Now, Google has upgraded the Keyboard to version 5.0 and has added several new features.
The best feature that Google has introduced to the Keyboard is one-handed typing. As the name suggests, users can toggle one-handed mode on or off to move the keyboard to move to the right or left edge of the screen. The new Keyboard also allows users to decide how much of the screen is taken up, offering a total of five height settings.
In the update, Google has also added shortcuts to access things like emojis and numbers. Users can reportedly bring up emoji and numpad pages with just a touch when they switch to the symbol page through dedicated buttons. Some symbols will also be hinted in the update, much like how numbers are hinted on the top row, and can be applied by holding down the appropriate key.
The one reason why physical keyboard enthusiasts exist is because of its typing accuracy. Whether the update results in more accurate typing is something that's to be seen; the update has made editing a little easier. In the older versions of Google Keyboard, editing typos involved tapping moving the cursor across the words, which was not as smooth as typing on the keyboard itself. With the update, the cursor can be brought up and moved across the words by dragging a finger across the spacebar.
Additionally, swiping right to left across the backspace key now deletes entire words. Right next to the backspace key is 'm'. Swiping up to 'm' deletes one word and dragging the finger up to 'n' deletes two words and so on. Words stored in the keyboard's dictionary can also be deleted directly from the keyboard itself.
The existing Holo Blue and Holo White themes have been phased out and two themes 'Material Light' and 'Material Dark' have been introduced.
A final important revision to the Keyboard is the introduction of a cloud-based learning system where Google Keyboard collects snippets of what has been typed in Google's apps and sends it to its own servers to help improve the Keyboard. The feature is optional and users can always opt out.
Google Keyboard 5 is reportedly making its way to devices around the world via the Play Store. At the time of writing this article, the new version was yet to become available.
For the impatient ones, APK Mirror has an APK file available for download, but since it's not an official source, we cannot vouch for how safe or unsafe the file may be.