If you use an Android or iPhone and text regularly, you know how important it is to have a good keyboard. If your smartphone doesn’t come with one already, you have the option to install and use the Google Gboard keyboard on your phone. The Google Gboard keyboard is one of the best free third-party keyboards available in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. It was designed by Google and allows you to take full advantage of everything it has to offer. Here are some reasons why you should download it right away! Get to Know Google Gboard: The Best Keyboard for Android and iPhone

Voice Search

Gone are the days of typing search queries into a browser or app. Instead, you can perform voice searches in just about any app on your smartphone; there’s no need to leave what you’re doing. Just hold down on your keyboard (or talk while your phone is nearby) and ask away! As you get better at performing voice searches, they will become faster and more accurate than text-based searches.

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Glide Typing

If you’ve grown accustomed to autocorrect, you might be surprised how much more smoothly you can type by sliding your finger from letter to letter instead of hitting each key individually. To try glide typing, enable it in Settings > Languages & Input > Virtual keyboard (under Advanced settings). From there, simply slide your finger from one key to another as if writing with a pen on paper.

One-handed Mode

For your fellow lefties, there’s a one-handed mode that makes it easier to type on a phone with one hand. Turn it on by tapping Languages & input, then go into Virtual keyboard settings. Select One-handed mode and then choose which side of your screen you want it enabled. Finally, activate it by holding down your spacebar.

Digital Assistance

There’s an app that can help you do just about anything, from ordering dinner (through a service like GrubHub) to hailing a taxi (via Uber). Still, some apps are better than others. One of those is Google Gboard, which excels at voice input. You might not realize how powerful it is until you spend a few minutes using it on your Android phone or iPhone.

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Gesture Navigation

With gesture navigation, you can glide your finger around on a small strip at the bottom of your keyboard instead of pressing buttons. When you land on a letter, swipe up from that letter to access all letters in that row. For instance, start from B and swipe upward to see every other letter, including C, D (and so on). Swiping down will move you back through your previous inputs.

Translate Without Leaving The App

Have you ever read a message in a foreign language, thought Gee, that’s interesting. I wonder how I would translate it?—and then gone to a website or copy/pasted into Google Translate only to realize that there’s no easy way to get back into your chat? Not anymore. With Google Gboard on iOS (and coming soon to Android), you can translate things without leaving your chat.

What it can do

With so many features and customizations, it can be hard to remember everything that Gboard can do. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for using your keyboard in ways you might not have thought possible.

Get to Know Google Gboard: The Best Keyboard for Android and iPhone
Get to Know Google Gboard: The Best Keyboard for Android and iPhone

How to use it

To make it easier to switch between input methods, there’s a simple two-step process. First, click on your current keyboard (for example, Predictive) and hit Settings from the pop-up menu. Then find Current Keyboard under settings, choose your new keyboard (for example, Gboard), and hit OK.

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Fun Easter eggs

It’s easy to forget how powerful some of these features can be, so let’s take a look at some of our favorites.Google Translate: If you’re constantly translating words from other languages, Google Translate is a great way to do so on your phone. Just hold down on a word in any app or browser that supports translation, and select Translate from… then choose which language you want to translate from.

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