News

POV: Google's New Keyboard for iOS

Background

On May 12, 2016, Google released Gboard, a new keyboard for iOS devices. At time of writing, it is already among the top 25 free apps in the App Store, and the #1 free Utilities app. Gboard brings integrated Google searching to your keyboard, allowing you to search the web and send information without having to leave whichever app you are using. At present it is only available in the US, but is set to be introduced globally and in more languages imminently.

Details & Implications

Functionalities include the ability to:

Search for a restaurant address, flight information or a YouTube video and slide the content right into the message (see left).

Add emojis (with suggestions as you type) and also search for and add GIFs when typing.

Search results are displayed horizontally and can be clicked to open in a browser or in a map if it’s a location or in Yelp if it’s a business listing (other options exist depending on which App you are using).

Search results and rankings are based on Google’s traditional mobile search algorithms, giving you another great reason to execute sound mobile search optimization strategies.

It’s early days and Google will continue to experiment with the rankings for Gboard but we’d expect favorability for Knowledge Graph answers and News listings since Gboard use may be more likely to occur in the midst of a sharing activity (social media posting, text messaging etc).

One big difference between Google’s traditional mobile search results and initial Gboard search results is paid ad placements. For now, Gboard does not display ads. No text ads and no shopping ads as you get on the mobile web. While there is no official confirmation that ads will become part of Gboard search results in the future, Google historically adds advertising when usage reaches a critical mass.

Furthermore, the introduction of Gboard means that Google’s search results will now also be included in Spotlight search on iPhones, where Bing is the default browser.

Summary/POV

Gboard places Google’s powerful search capabilities across all apps that utilize any typing function in iOS. For consumers who choose to download and use this keyboard it eliminates the need to switch between apps when trying to copy and paste search results. Gboard further emphasizes the need to ensure your web properties are optimized for mobile search and while there are no paid listings at launch, it should be monitored closely for  the day those may arrive.