Gboard May Soon Get New Google Assistant Support, More Features

AH Gboard logo 1 AH 2019
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Google may be preparing to add several new features to Gboard soon. An APK teardown of Gboard v9.7.03 beta by XDA Developers has revealed three unreleased features that may make it in a future version of the app.

Firstly, the APK contains code strings for a feature that looks to add a dedicated button for the "new" Google Assistant on Gboard. Google refers to the revamped on-device Assistant as "nga" in string names.

<string name="nga_ask_assistant_button_description">Ask Assistant Button</string>
<string name="nga_ask_assistant_text">Ask Assistant</string>

There's also a code string that seemingly adds settings for the Smart Completions feature on Gboard. Announced at Google I/O 2018, this feature uses machine learning to autocomplete sentences. Initially exclusive to Gmail, the Smart Completions feature was rolled out to Google Docs in early 2019.

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Gboard gained support for the feature last month, starting with Google Messages, Telegram, and WhatsApp. Google now appears to be working on a settings menu for the feature on Gboard.

<string name="setting_enable_inline_suggestion_title">Smart completions</string>

Lastly, the recently released beta version of Gboard contains code strings for a feature to undo auto-correct by pressing the backspace key. With this feature, you don't need to erase the whole auto-corrected word and retype it. Instead, you can simply undo the auto-correct by pressing the backspace key. XDA says this feature will likely come with a toggle. So you can choose to either enable it or disable it.

<string name="setting_enable_ac_revert_summary">Return to original text when backspacing after an autocorrection</string>
<string name="setting_enable_ac_revert_title">Undo auto-correct on backspace</string>

Google preparing new features for Gboard

Google has rolled out several new features to Gboard in the recent past. Support for Android 11 emojis and an emoji shortcut bar are some of the newest additions. The web giant also recently started testing features including smart replies, sticker recommendations, and GIF search recommendations for its popular keyboard app. These features are currently available for a small group of users via a server-side update. Google should begin a wider rollout once it's done testing the new features.

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In the meantime, the company's preparing several new features for a future release of the app. Along with the above discussed three features, Google is also working a Google Lens shortcut, Google Assistant dictation, and the ability to follow the system light and dark themes on Gboard. These features were spotted on Gboard version 9.6.3 beta last month.

That said, there's no guarantee that any of these features will make it into a future release of the app. Although it's not very likely, these features are currently unimplemented and Google may pull them out at any time. Even if it doesn't, it may take up to several months for these features to roll out.