Google has been working on a redesign of its keyboard app Gboard for the past few months, at least since August last year. Particularly, it is tweaking the top shortcuts toolbar of the keyboard. An APK teardown of the latest beta version has revealed some of the ongoing works.
Gboard is readying a shortcuts toolbar redesign
The folks over at 9to5Google recently decompiled the Gboard APK following the latest beta update for the app. They could enable an unfinished keyboard design that makes some notable changes to the shortcuts toolbar. For starters, the shortcuts now get their own rounded rectangular containers like other keys, except for the microphone button which sits on the extreme right of the toolbars in a circular housing. Well, the extreme left button also gets a circular container. But the overall idea is to make things consistent across the keyboard as the shortcuts now look more like keys.
With this change, the leftmost button with a circular housing isn’t the one you currently have, though. The button that lets you hide the shortcuts is gone and replaced by a new one that lets you edit the toolbar to add or remove visible shortcuts. The ellipsis button (three horizontal dots or …) served this purpose previously but Google has redesigned it and moved it to the left. Tapping it reveals the additional shortcuts that you can hold and drag to add to the toolbar. Google specifically tells you that here. This section is also denser than before and features more shortcuts in similar rectangular containers.
There are a few other minor changes across the keyboard. But most notably, this redesign of Gboard allows for one additional shortcut on the toolbar. You can now have seven shortcuts including the microphone, in addition to the customize button on the left. The changes make Google’s keyboard app more usable than before. Unfortunately, it’s unclear when this redesign will roll out to users. It’s not even there in the latest beta version. We will let you know once we have that information.
Gboard on tablets gets a minor change
Along with this redesign on phones, Google has also made one minor change to Gboard for tablets. The big-screen version got an optimized layout in October of last year. As part of that optimization, the company removed the “?123” shortcut from the bottom-right corner and replaced it with a dedicated key to hide the keyboard. Version 12.6 of the app reverses that change. You could already hide the keyboard by tapping anywhere else on the screen or using the back button/gesture. If you use Gboard on your Android phone or tablet, watch out for these changes in the coming weeks.
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