If you thought Google has a habit of just chopping off their useful services and apps, think again. One of the best and most intuitive element of Android is apparently its Google-designed stock Android keyboard, which has all the features you’d want from an optimum text input method accompanied by a simple yet decent layout. Google has packed it with the best features cherry-picked from other awesomely designed keyboard apps including Swiftkey and Swype. But unfortunately, this vanilla keyboard is usually absent on third party OEM devices such as Galaxy S4 or HTC One, because they ship their own OEM solutions. Finally, good news for folks who want to download standard Android keyboard on their devices, as Google released Google Keyboard on the Play Store. That’s right, the official Android keyboard that ships with Nexus devices can now be used on non-Nexus ones by simply installing it like any other app. Lets take a closer look.
Google Keyboard carries the same feature-set and functionality found on Android 4.2, though it doesn’t work on devices running anything lower than Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich). So how does the ‘Nexus experience’ fare against OEM-based touch solutions? Well quite good, we’d say, though it’s more of like user preference really. Most people tend to incline towards Google’s offering and we can’t argue with that. If you can’t live without your swyping habits, you needn’t worry about that either as Google’s Gesture Typing provides the same gliding experience to quickly type your text. Here’s a quick rundown of its other salient features:
- Support for voice typing
- Built-in dictionary for up to 26 languages
- Next word suggestions and current word completion
- Supports both Android phones and tablets
- Advanced keyboard layouts
During testing, we tried the keyboard on a handful of devices here at AddictiveTips and it worked like a charm on all of them. The auto-completion feature works really well, especially when swiping through the keys. The keyboard also carries many special characters. Even though you can easily find a myriad of alternatives at the Play store, what’s better than having an official one at your disposal?
According to Google, the app is available for English-speaking countries only at the moment, but will land in more regions pretty soon. You can use the URL below to download it directly from Google Play Store for free.