Google's latest beta version of Gboard (6.9) was recently deconstructed and as expected, a list of potential upcoming features have been uncovered following the APK teardown, including Smart Reply for notifications, and a couple of extra details pertaining to the "Make a GIF" feature initially discovered late last year in Gboard 6.8. The code for Gboard 6.9 beta also contains strings for a "Universal Media Keyboard" and Google is apparently preparing a new feature in the form of a pop-up message designed to inform users of what new additions have been included with the latest Gboard update.
Back in November when Gboard 6.8 beta was deconstructed, a new "Make a GIF" feature was discovered, and now new details surrounding this option have been found in the Gboard 6.9 beta APK, suggesting that users will be able to start recording a GIF by tapping a dedicated "Make a GIF" button found inside the GIF tab within the 'My GIFs' category. Additionally, Google's blob emojis might make a comeback in the form of blob stickers, which may be added to the sticker tab. Furthermore, although Bitmoji integration was added alongside stickers in Gboard 6.5, the latest teardown shows that the feature could see some changes to the interface. Another new feature found in Gboard 6.9 beta includes a Universal Media Keyboard, which comes in the form of a new search-like tab found next to the emoji and sticker tabs. The keyboard's functionality seems to be focused on searching "all media," though it's unclear whether the search will be limited to Gboard's own features or if it will expand into other areas.
The Smart Reply functionality currently existing in Google applications like Android Messages and Allo could also be coming to Gboard, judging by a couple of new code strings hinting at improved suggestions. One string indicates that the Smart Replies feature in Gboard will soon work with applications including Hangouts, Messages, Allo, Facebook Messenger and its Lite counterpart, Tencent, Snapchat, and WhatsApp, while another string reveals that in order for this feature to work, users may need to give the Gboard app "notification access" from the system settings of their device. Finally, the search engine giant seems to be working on a way to better inform Gboard users of newly added features through a "What's new in Gboard?" pop-up notification that should appear whenever new updates will be acquired. In closing, it should be reminded that there's no guarantee when or if all of these features will be added to Gboard, but at least these strings of code show the direction in which Google might push its keyboard Android app in the relatively near future.