It is a known fact that Google (and now Alphabet) relies predominantly on its core search engine offering for the majority of its revenues coming through ads. However, as per some experts, mobile search stands way behind the desktop search and to boost the same, Google is reportedly developing a search focussed keyboard for iPhone users.
According to a report by The Verge, the keyboard has been in development for the last few months. It features gesture-based typing with word prediction made popular by the Swiftkey keyboard.
There is a Google logo over the keyboard which can be tapped by the users to perform a search query through Google. In addition to it, the keyboard also has a functionality to search for GIFs and images, a feature which is absent from Android keyboard also.
All the speculated features point towards the push to search on iPhone. However, this may all turn out to be just an internal project as Google has not announced anything officially yet.
The keyboard meant for iOS, which may or may not be released in the foreseeable future, has several brand new features that build upon Google’s Android keyboard. Along with gesture based typing, the pad also brings image and GIF search straight from your keyboard. Although, we will have to take a look at how that works.
The attempt at creating an iOS keypad, seems to have its focus more upon boosting Google search, than anything else. While the thought of Google, with barely any comparable competition may seem a bit strange, researches using stats in the public domain have shown that Google’s foothold in mobile searches is less secure than that on desktop.
Also, considering that a lot of Googlers using desktops, search for terms like Facebook and Twitter — which already have relevant apps on smartphones — searches are cut further. And of course Google can’t have that. Searches after all, is the bread and butter of the company, and the place where it exhibits some of its most expensive advertisements.
If there indeed is such a keyboard coming up, there are few significant challenges before Google with respect to the adoption and acceptance of a third-party keyboard among iPhone or iPad users.
Traditionally, third party keyboards have not gone down too well with iPhone users primarily due to the constant shuffling required to switch between default and third party keyboard. Plus, similar keyboards in past were often reported to suffer from performance issues.
Moreover, there is a crucial question of whether iPhones users actually need such search focussed keyboard. iPhone users can perform a web search right from the home screen by swiping down and typing the query. So it is simply a fact of “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it”!
However, Google has a proven track record to come up with pretty solid third-party applications for iOS. So it won’t exactly be a surprise if Google indeed comes up and succeed with such keyboard in iPhone.