Slash — The Android “GBoard” Alternative that Eases Frustrations, This Side of the Fence
If you are like me, then having the newest apps and features is pretty high up on your list of things you want on your phone. Who am I kidding, this is XDA-Developers the site built on having and supporting the newest features and apps on all your devices.
So last week when Google announced the new (awesome) GBoard application for iOS and not Android it rubbed some of the community the wrong way, including myself. While the argument could easily be made that iOS needed the functionality more due to walled off sharing of content between applications, many of us are left staring down at our keyboards wishing we could just press that G search button. While they the team did say they were working on bringing it to Android – if Hangouts is any indication – we will be waiting a bit for these iOS features to cross over.
Well wait no more! Sorta, kinda. An application called Slash has recently surfaced over on the Android sub-reddit from user ForgottenDude. Similar to how GBoard works, Slash allows you to search/link from applications like Amazon, Foursquare, giphy, Google, Product Hunt, Spotify, Twitter, Google Photos, the list goes on but you get the concept. It also allows for a fair amount of customization. Above the keyboard, where one might find suggested words, is where the toolbar sits. You can adjust the applications in this toolbar for quick linking or searching.
You can also tap the blue Slash icon (hence the name) for the full list of enabled services. The application is (almost) fully featured as far as keyboards go as well. Theme support (with the Google Keyboard alternatives like Material Dark/Light, Holo Light/Dark), text correction, vibrate and sound controls, along with alternative language support is included.
However, not all is rosy on Slash. At this time Slash does not offer any type of swiping to enter text like most other Android keyboards and the search implementation is not quite as refined as you would find on GBoard. Also, a personal pet peeve of mine, is that all links are sent through their own link shortener instead of using a services own shortened link such as the one YouTube and others use.
All-in-all though, if you absolutely must have similar functionality to those offered by GBoard right now, Slash appears to be a great application to do so. But for the above listed reasons I will continue to stare at my Google Keyboard every time I go to type a message waiting for the G search icon to appear. But at least we can swipe on our spacebar to move the cursor around, right?
You can download Slash on the Google Play Store for Free – Google Play Link