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Report: Google has built a search-centric iOS keyboard

Reports late on Tuesday have claimed that Google has developed a third-party keyboard for the iPhone.

The Verge’s sources say the app would feature heavy Google search integration via a Google logo.

According to the report, it will also include gesture-based swipe-to-type tech, just like the stock Android keyboard. It could also benefit from GIF searches that may be powered by Google image search.

Although a prominent feature on the standard Android keyboard, there’s no room for voice search functionality on the iOS counterpart, according to the report. 

Replacing the default keyboard on iPhone and iPad devices would enable Google to keep its search engine front and centre, which is surely the key motivation.

In the app-based mobile ecosystem, users can find most of the information they need by launching an app rather than searching through Google first. This, of course, potentially harms the ad revenue Google makes from ad searches.

Related: Best iOS keyboards

Right now, it isn’t clear whether Google plans to release the keyboard onto the rival platform, but the published screenshot suggests it may be ready for prime time. According to the report, the keyboard has been in circulation internally for a number of months.

Until now, third-party keyboards on the iPhone – finally introduced within iOS 8 – have largely failed to deliver an improved experience due to the hassle of installing and cycling through the various options once installed.

Can Google do better? We might be about to find out.

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