You know that stock keyboard that comes on your Nexus device with Android 4.2? Yeah the one with gesture typing and everything. It’s now available in the Play Store as a stand alone app. Which means anyone can download and use this keyboard, as if it were SwiftKey, Swype, Fleksy or any other keyboard out there.
There’s not a whole lot of differences between this app and the keyboard that comes with Android 4.2. But in case you’re on Android 4.0 or 4.1, it does include gesture typing with dynamic floating preview, voice typing, next-word suggestions and current-word completions, 26 language dictionaries, advanced keyboard layouts, tablet and phone functionality.
The Google Keyboard does work with Android 4.0 and above and weighs in at about 15MB. So it’s a bit big, or is it? By comparison, Swiftkey is about 7-8MB and I think it has much more functionality. At least now those of you that are not on the latest version of Android can get the latest and greatest in keyboard technology from Google.
It’s kind of interesting to see this popping up in the Play Store. Pretty soon Google will just update all the apps and call that an Android update. This takes us back to Google I/O when Google basically updated everything with just updating one app, Google Play Services. We’ve already seen Google Talk/Hangouts, Gmail, Google Search/Google Now, Calendar and now the Keyboard broken out of Android and can be updated outside of Android. It really looks like this is how Google is fighting off the F word, fragmentation.
How many of you are going to download the keyboard from Google Play? Let us know in the comments down below what you think about the keyboard.