slash keyboard

Yesterday Google released Gboard for iOS, a smart keyboard that integrates search, GIFs, and emoji, on top of all the great features we know and love from Google’s Android keyboard.

A lot of people are miffed that Google brought this great new functionality to iOS first. Perhaps rightfully so, they feel that Android should always be Google’s priority.

Leaving emotions aside, will Gboard’s features ever make it to Android? According to a product manager with Google, the answer is yes!

Responding to comments on Product Hunt, associate product manager Bri Connelly said that the Google mobile search team is “working on the best way to bring the same functionality to Android right now.”

Connelly didn’t provide other details, but at least we have a semi-official confirmation that the G button will eventually arrive to the Android keyboard.

In other good news: there’s an Android keyboard app that already offers the same cool features you get with Gboard.

Slash keyboard puts a bunch of integrations right at your fingertips, including Google Search, GIF search via Giphy, reactions, YouTube videos, locations, Foursquare, Spotify, contacts, maps, Amazon, and many others.

It works pretty much like Gboard – in any app that accepts text input, you could bring up the keyboard and quickly find a website, a funny video, or just the right GIF.

Slash looks like a solid keyboard in itself, and it looks a lot like Google Keyboard in fact. However, it does lack swipe input, so that might be a dealbreaker, and it also lacks the nifty usability features that Google just added to the latest version of its Android keyboard.

One thing that I think Gboard does better is the way the search integration is built into the keyboard. On Slash, you get a full row of actions that replaces the prediction bar when you stop typing. It’s a little intrusive and I prefer Google’s more compact approach.

Bottom line, give Slash a shot: if you do a lot of texting and messaging, and you often find yourself switching back and forth between your chat and other apps, you may find it a great time saver. And who knows, perhaps you won’t care that Gboard is not on Android anymore.

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