A recent APK teardown of the latest beta version of Gboard has shed a bit of light on some of the features that may be implemented by Google into its keyboard application in the future, including new emoji, additional settings for handwriting mode, as well as a digit-based keyboard. Furthermore, according to a string of code found in Gboard 7.1, the application is now beginning to include support for Google’s next iteration of Android OS, currently being referred to as Android P, and judging by some other bits of code, the option to make a GIF through Motion GIFs integration appears to be one step closer to being released.
Google seems to be making the necessary preparations for a new wave of emoji expected to be released this summer as part of the Unicode 11 standard. The new emoji discovered following the Gboard 7.1 beta APK teardown appear to match the Unicode 11 specifications and seem to depict male, female, and gender-neutral versions of supervillains and superheroes in a variety of skin tones. Unicode 11 is expected to launch in June so it’s likely that these new emoji will be added to the public version of Gboard in a similar timeframe. The same cannot be said for the other features found referenced by Gboard 7.1 beta as some of them could launch at an earlier or later date, though one functionality in particular – the ability to make GIFs – has been expected for quite some time, especially since it is already available in Gboard for iOS. The latest APK teardown reveals new strings of code pertaining to the Make a GIF service designed to ask users for camera permission. This suggests that Make a GIF is one step closer to being launched on Gboard for Android, though it’s still unclear when exactly that might happen.
In addition, Google seems to be working on ways to improve the handwriting feature added to Gboard 6.8 late last year. Specifically, it seems that the software giant intends to implement new settings to allow users to set the speed of scrolling when handwriting, as well as giving them the option to select the thickness of strokes. Furthermore, Gboard could also eventually receive a digit mode in the form of a dedicated numerical keyboard, and finally, Google also appears to be working on implementing additional country-specific top-level domain suggestions for markets including China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, when long-pressing on a period within a web browser’s search bar. In closing, it should be reminded that although Google is seemingly working on these new features, some of them are not necessarily guaranteed to make it into a public build later down the development line, though support for new emoji and Android P is likely certain.