Google has released a third-party keyboard for iOS with integrated search functionality. Google’s Gboard for iOS works, for the most part, like any other keyboard — it’s the tiny Google logo at the top left corner that makes all the difference.
Tapping the Google button on Gboard, which can be done from within any app, allows you to conduct a search just as you would from Google’s own home page. You can even view the search results without ever having to leave the app you’re in.
This is a considerable effort by Google to gain a greater share of the search market on iOS. Google is the default search engine in Apple’s Safari browser; but when it comes to Siri and Spotlight search, iOS devices refer to Bing. Not to mention there’s the option to change your default search engine in iOS should you choose to do so.
When using Gboard, Google is the one and only destination for search. Meaning, if a large number of iPhone users download this app it could potentially leader to a great share of the mobile search market — and the search market in general.
Google demos the app by giving examples of how people will typically use it day to day. Think of those moments when you’re chatting with friends and there comes to a point in the conversation where you have to look something up. Tap the Google button, search for what you need, and then either tap one of the links or drag the link into the chat window for your friend to see.
Of course, that’s just one example of the many times people could end up using this app throughout the day. In addition to search results, you can also look up GIFs, emojis, pictures, and just about anything else that’s searchable.
Google’s Gboard is available as an iOS exclusive right now, a Google representative has stated that an Android version is being worked on and it may be available at some point.
To see it in action, check out this video from Droid Life who already has a full demo video available: