Google has released the official Google Keyboard onto the Play Store as a free app download, allowing all Android users to get the Nexus typing experience.
If you’ve ever typed out a text message, email, or reminder note on a stock Android device like the Google Nexus 4, you’ll know that it comes with a clean yet fully featured keyboard of its own.
When you buy an Android phone from the likes of HTC, Samsung or Sony, you have to put up with each company’s own custom keyboard equivalent. Few are outright bad, but most lack the functional elegance of Google’s default effort.
Of course, Android being Android, you can download a number of excellent alternatives, such as Swype or SwiftKey. These two main players both cost money, however.
Now Google has stepped up its efforts to provide as many of its own stock Android elements as possible through the Google Play Store with Google Keyboard. It provides the full Android 4.2 Jelly Bean typing experience for free.
As well as a next-word suggestions and current-word completions, Google Keyboard includes Swype-like gesture typing, which enables you to type out whole words without removing your finger from the screen. When the keyboard figures out what you’re trying to type, you just lift your finger momentarily to enter it. It renders the space bar virtually redundant.
Google Keyboard also features voice typing, which lets you dictate messages hands-free.
With support for all smartphones and tablets running Android 4.0 and above, Google Keyboard is available right now as a free download on the Google Play Store.
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