Starting with iOS 8, Apple did away with its long-held stance of not allowing third-party keyboard apps on its mobile platform, iOS. Soon, a flood of third-party apps including the Facebook-owned Swiftkey and others that had for long been available on Android made their way to the platform. Soon, Apple’s biggest rival in the mobile space, Apple, will be joining them.
Google is working on a keyboard, like the one it has developed for its mobile platform, Android, but for iOS. According to a report by the Verge, Google is keen on bringing its own keyboard to the iPhone and the iPad so as to be able to centrally place its search engine and increase usage on mobile.
The keyboard, like its Android counterpart, is expected to incorporate features like gesture-based typing, a specialty of popular keyboard app Swype. It will also have a Google logo emblazoned which will trigger a quick search bar when pressed making it easy to search without exiting an app. There will also be distinct buttons for photos and GIFs powered by Google’s own image search.
There have been growing concerns in recent days that fewer users are using search on mobile as compared to desktop thanks to the ready availability of apps for services that users often have to Google on their desktop browsers in order to access. For instance, users are less likely to search for Facebook on mobile since they know exactly where to find the application on their devices.
Google currently has an arrangement with Apple where it reportedly pays the Cupertino-based company at least $1 billion annually to have its service set as the default search service on iOS devices.