By @TheMarkDalton

The rumours of Google building an iPhone specific keyboard were true. Last week, Google launched Gboard, a keyboard like no other on the App Store which has built in Google Search, swipe to type, GIF search and of course emoji. 

The idea of baking Google Search into a keyboard is carried out with the aim of reducing the amount of time spent switching between apps or any clunky copy and pasting.

The keyboard features a prominent Google logo which you press to bring up Google Search. When you search for something, the links will be displayed in card form in the keyboard. When you find what you need, you can link it up to what you are doing with a single tap.

So imagine being on Twitter and you see someone asking for a recommendation on where to eat out this evening. You know that ‘The Wild Boar’ up in Stepaside is a winner and you want to link up the webpage to your Twitter reply.

Instead of hopping out of Twitter and going into either the Google app or Safari to Google the website, copy and paste a link and then return to Twitter – you can now do all that from within this keyboard. Sounds really neat right?

Speaking about time and being fast, Gboard also has swipe to type which means you don’t need to type each individual letter if you don’t want to. Simply glide over the keyboard with your finger and you will be typing fast in no time.

The swiping is smooth and accurate, something that other third party keyboards seem to have struggled with over the past number of years.

Autocorrect and predictive text are both very accurate and the overall appearance of the keyboard is very similar to the stock keyboard. It is clean, neat and simple. One of the biggest problems I have had with third party keyboards on iOS is that some of them tend to be really unstable and all of a sudden you get automatically reverted back to the stock keyboard.

There has been no such problems with Gboard. The keyboard is stable and has not yet crashed and reverted back to the stock keyboard once as of yet.

This is one of the best, and the most practical third party keyboards I have used yet. It has easily replaced the stock keyboard on my iPhone and I would highly recommend downloading it today.

Now, the bad news. Gboard is currently US only so if you try search it in any other App Store it won’t appear. However, not to worry. You can easily set up a US iTunes account for free (and don’t worry – its all above board).

Simply follow the steps in the guide below:

http://www.alphr.com/apple/1001234/how-to-download-us-apps-in-the-uk

Trust me, it is a quick process to go through and it is well worth it just to get your hands on Gboard. Sure, you can wait for Google to make it available in your region but who knows when that will happen!

At the moment they keyboard is iOS only and there are no indications as to when it may be coming to Android.

The iTunes download link is below.

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