Chrome OS prepares to support third-party Android keyboards like Gboard
Last month at Google I/O 2018, Google made a number of announcements pertaining to the future of development on Chrome OS. One of these announcements made it clear that soon we would see support for third-party Android keyboards such as Gboard on these devices. Now, according to a commit on the Chromium Gerrit, we may soon see that become a reality in the next Canary build.
This isn’t the first piece of Android integration we’ve seen from Chrome OS recently. In fact, nearly all recent developments have shown that it has become a larger focus for Google in recent months. With Android P already being tested, the integration of Android files into the files application, Android app shortcut searching, and more, Google is taking its Chromebook operating system very seriously. With third-party keyboards being added, you’ll be able to make use of not just Gboard, but special keyboards such as Grammarly as well. With the addition of Gboard, you’ll be able to send all of the emoji that come with it, along with making use of GIF support, too. This is important as more and more touchscreen-only Chrome OS devices come out. The default Chrome keyboard isn’t that great at all and lacks heavily in features.
Users wanting to get in on the action will need to enable an ARC flag within Chrome OS and compile their own nightly build. If you’re not up for that, you can simply wait for the user-facing feature flag to make its way into a nightly build of Canary. Chrome OS is becoming more and more integrated with Android features every day, but what’s next on the horizon? There’s a lot more Google could do here, and as Chromebooks are both cheap and affordable, it’s not as if they have many competitors in this market sector.