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Google has launched Gboard, a new app for iPhone that lets users search through the keyboard without leaving the app they are currently on. Users can use the search for local business results, adding GIFs and images to conversation, or checking their flight timings.

The keyboard looks exactly like the iOS keyboard save the added Google icon on the top left side. Tapping on the icon opens a Google search bar with search suggestions, and the return send button changes to search. On searching, results appear on a scrollable interface that lets users look through results without leaving the current app Users can switch from between image search, GIF search and normal search from a tiny tab on the bottom.

The results can also be copy pasted into chats or other apps users are currently using. The app also displays other relevant results from Google Now, like air ticket timings, schedules, weather and other Google cards. Users can look up videos on YouTube and directly insert them into conversations as well. The keyboard supports other common features such as swiping etc., and is currently available in English, with more languages coming soon.

Not on Android: While Google has an Android keyboard, it does not feature a search key like the iOS keyboard. The keyboard seems like it would be pretty useful to avoid app switching when looking for an address, timings, images, gifs, videos or performing a basic search. However, the company did not mention when this feature would go live on Android, or if it would launch another Android keyboard which integrates this feature.

Microsoft keyboard: Note that Microsoft had acquired popular keyboard app SwiftKey for $250 million in February this year. The app is available on both Android and iOS for free, and offers a paid version for Windows Phones. Interestingly, at the time, Microsoft also had plans to launch its own Word Flow keyboard for Windows Phones and iOS.

Hike keyboard launch: In December messaging app Hike launched a keyboard in 8 indic languages including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu. However, the keyboard was integrated with the messaging app, letting only users of Hike try it out.

Other developments:

– Yesterday, Google rolled out new updates for Google Translate app for Android and iOS. The update allowed translations to appear as an overlay as soon as users copied the text.

– In April, YouTube launched its YouTube Gaming app in India on Android and iOS, after having launched in US and UK in August last year.

– In November last year, Microsoft updated Cortana, its personal assistant bot, to work on Android and iOS devices in India.