Google has released a new beta version of its Gboard application and several new and possibly upcoming features have been discovered following a new APK teardown. The most notable addition lies in a new handwriting keyboard, and furthermore, it appears that Gboard 6.8 beta integrates the Motion Stills application within the user interface, allowing users to rely on the aforementioned application to create GIFs. As a reminder and a rule of thumb, an APK teardown can reveal strings of code related to features that may or may not become available in the future, but either way it offers a sneak preview of some of the features Google has been working on, regardless of whether they will be implemented in a future public release.
According to the latest Gboard 6.8 beta APK teardown, the Handwriting Input keyboard application currently available on the Play Store will be integrated within the Gboard app. Compared to the dedicated application, the integrated Handwriting function appears to work in similar ways, offering a row of quick-access features at the bottom of the screen including buttons for numbers and emojis. As it currently stands, the feature can be enabled from the Languages submenu within Gboard settings after selecting the appropriate keyboard language and picking 'Handwriting' from the carousel. Users may then be prompted to download the necessary resources in order to enable the function. And speaking of emojis, it appears that Gboard 6.8 beta replaces the ‘pencil’ icon for handwritten emoji with a smiley face icon, and furthermore, the ability to draw and find emojis seems to have been removed. In addition, it should be noted that the latest beta version includes two strings of code suggesting that the handwriting keyboard will be usable in ‘fullscreen’ mode, and it appears that Gboard may soon get the option for automatically entering a space after a punctuation mark.
Lastly, the Gboard 6.8 beta APK teardown reveals that the keyboard may soon integrate with the Motion Stills app, allowing users to create and share GIFs which, in turn, will be organized in their own dedicated GIF tab within the keyboard application. It remains to be seen which of these features will be officially introduced in a public build and when. The most recent Gboard public update landed earlier in November and introduced support for 40 new languages as well as sticker packs.