Update, April 10, 2020 (04:15 PM ET): It appears either the update described below was a mistake or Google has quickly realized that people hate it because it’s already starting to revert back to the way it used to be.
Users are now reporting that the Google-branded spacebar is no longer there and the Google search function has returned. Here’s hoping it doesn’t revert back.
Original article, April 10, 2020 (08:44 AM ET): Gboard quickly established itself as the leading keyboard app on Android, delivering a fast experience with some sensible Google integration as well. However, a new tweak to the app has riled up plenty of users.
Google also seems to have removed the integrated search shortcut, now showing an arrow key to control visibility of toolbar elements instead. And no, you can’t hold on the spacebar to activate search — it does let you switch to another keyboard if you’ve got it enabled though.
We’ve spotted the changes over here at Android Authority too, and we’re guessing it’s a server-side update as some of us haven’t enabled automatic app updates. So rolling back to an earlier of Gboard likely won’t help you.
Some users with multiple languages enabled in Gboard haven’t reported seeing the change, so you could try adding an additional language if the Google branding really annoys you.
It’s not exactly unheard of for keyboard apps to display branding in the spacebar though, as Swiftkey also follows this practice. Then again, Swiftkey isn’t under as much scrutiny as the search giant.
Do you think Google went too far with its Gboard spacebar branding? Or is this decision way overblown?