Google’s excellent Gboard for Android is getting a few updates today meant to speed up your conversations a little bit.
Most notably, you can now draw emoji. No, this doesn’t mean you get to turn your scribbles into your own emoji, but Google will recognize what you’re trying to draw and offer up some suggestions. The feature likely builds off of the technology in Google’s AutoDraw app introduced a couple of months ago, which similarly turns your doodles into clean clip art.
Of course, you could already just search for an emoji, but the new featuer comes in handy if you’re looking for a particular emoji but don’t know what it’s call. Plus drawing stuff is fun.
That said, in a blasphemous move, Google demonstrated the feature using the classic ‘blob’ emoji, knowing all-too-well they’re about to kill them off for a vastly inferior redesign.
Second, Google can now predict entire phrases instead of just the next word. Type “What do” and google will suggest “you think,” for instance. I can’t see myself using this feature all that much – I hardly ever autocomplete words, let alone entire phrases – but it might be useful for slower typists, or if you’re using a device with one hand.
Lastly, Google now shows multiple results when you initiate a web search through the keyboard, which should make it easier to find and share things like restaurant suggestions or locations on Google Maps.
No word on when these features are coming to iOS, but you’ll see them in Gboard for Android starting today with version 6.3 of the app.