Gboard prepares a Google Lens shortcut, dark/light themes that follow system, and Google Assistant dictation support

Gboard prepares a Google Lens shortcut, dark/light themes that follow system, and Google Assistant dictation support

Google’s Gboard is among the most popular keyboard apps and is constantly updated with new features. Recently, Google added support for Android 11’s emojis on Gboard, just a week after activating Smart Compose predictions messaging apps. Now, Google is preparing to add a Google Lens shortcut, Google Assistant dictation, and support for automatic switching between light and dark themes on Gboard.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

We spotted references to the features coming to Gboard version 9.6.3 beta that came in earlier this week, adding with Android 11’s emoji. The following new strings were found part of the latest beta version of the Gboard app, hinting at the new Google Assistant-enabled voice dictation feature that Google first showed off at Google I/O 2019:

<string name="nga_clear_button_description">Clear Button</string>
<string name="nga_clear_text">Clear</string>
<string name="nga_close_button_description">Close Button</string>
<string name="nga_close_text">Close</string>
<string name="nga_onboarding_close_button_description">Close</string>
<string name="nga_onboarding_mic_button_description">Mic Button</string>
<string name="nga_search_button_description">Search Button</string>
<string name="nga_search_text">Search</string>
<string name="nga_send_button_description">Send Button</string>
<string name="nga_send_text">Send</string>
<string name="nga_start_dictating_default">Speak now to type hands free</string>

The new Google Assistant features are still exclusive to the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL, though.


In addition to the typing with Google Assistant, Google is also adding a new “Default Black” theme to complement the “Default White” theme. 9to5Google showcased this by reverse-engineering the newly added features in the latest build. The new black theme comes without the colored enter key and may receive a “System Auto” feature as part of the improved theme, allowing it to switch between the Default Light and Dark themes automatically.

Besides, Google is adding Google Sans font to replace Roboto on the letter keys in Gboard.

9to5Google also highlighted the new shortcut for Google Lens and Google Assistant in the shortcuts row above the numbers row on Gboard. As per their report, the Google Lens shortcut only launches the app, and there is no deeper integration for it. Meanwhile, the Assistant shortcut, which has been in works since Gboard 8.5 from last year, is still inactive. However, as the above set of strings spotted by us may suggest, the feature may finally start working soon.

gboard

To get these features before most of the users, you can sign up for the Gboard beta either by clicking here or by scrolling down on the Google Play Store listing and tapping on “Join” under the Beta section.

Gboard - the Google Keyboard
Gboard - the Google Keyboard

About author

Tushar Mehta
Tushar Mehta

Tushar's love for tinkering with different forms of consumer tech brings him to this front. Besides technology, he likes to keep a tab on the political climate and trade bouts that make things expensive, and in turn, peeve him. Email him at [email protected]