Gboard update brings text selection mode and resizing to Android keyboard app

The latest update brings a flurry of new changes and hints at some cool features down the road.

It might have taken longer than we would have liked for the Gboard keyboard to make it to Android, but Google hasn’t rested on its laurels. Since its release in December, Google has steadily added new features and interface tweaks to Gboard on Android, and the latest update may be the biggest yet.

The most noticeable change is the addition of a new toolbar option. When you tap the arrow to the left of the predictive text row (or the G button if you’ve enabled “Show Search and more” in the Search settings), you’ll see a new button that looks like a capital “I” flanked by two arrows. Tap it and you’ll enter Gboard’s new text selection mode, which turns the keyboard into a series of options related to editing text. There are copy, paste, select, home, and four arrow keys, which work together to reduce the time you need to spend messing with the text selection handles.

You’ll also get a better resizable keyboard, to aid with one-handed typing on larger screens. Tap the menu icon in the toolbar (which isn’t visible in the “G” search mode for some reason) and select one-handed mode. There will be a new resizing icon that lets you make the keyboard slightly smaller and move it around in the box.

Elsewhere, you’ll now be able to customize the toolbar and type in numerous new languages, and Google has also tweaked the design of the keys, adding rounded corners and shadows.

In its traditional APK teardown, Android Police also spotted a few additional changes. Based on its deep dive into the code, it appears that Google may be merging handwriting mode into the main keyboard and adding a new incognito mode for those times when you don’t want you words recorded.

The update is currently rolling out to users in the Play Store, but you can get it early by side-loading the Google-signed APK from APK Mirror.

Just our type: Gboard is our favorite keyboard on Android, and it's great to see Google putting so much effort into it. We wouldn't be surprised to see it become the default keyboard when Android O ships this fall, but even if it's not, it'll still be one of the first changes we make when we get a new phone. Even if you don't utilize its primary function of searching, Gboard is still a fantastic keyboard, and the new text selection mode just makes it that much better.

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Michael Simon

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