Microsoft Swiftkey for Android prepares to add clipboard sync with Windows 10
It might not be the flavor of the month since Google’s GBoard arrived on the scene, but Microsoft-owned Swiftkey still continues to bring improvements to its own Android keyboard experience. The next major feature looks like be clipboard sync for Windows 10.
Android developer Alessandro Paluzzi uncovered the new feature (via 9to5Google) in a recent SwiftKey release thanks to some reverse engineering. The description for the new menu option says you’ll be able to “copy and paste text from your other Windows devices.” You will, of course, have to “enable this on your Windows device as well,” and once you do, Microsoft warns that it “receives your clipboard data to sync across your Windows devices.”
— Alessandro Paluzzi (@alex193a) October 9, 2020
It makes sense, of course. Microsoft officially adopted Android as its mobile platform de jour some time ago, and anything that makes for an even more seamless experience with its own ecosystem is going to be high up the developer to-do list.
Samsung owners have something similar already with the “Link to Windows” feature, but this brings the same functionality to other Android brands, adding the cloud element, which should prevent any device-based limitations. Indeed, when the partnership was announced, Microsoft claimed that without the cooperation of individual OEMs, native clipboards sync for other devices would be impossible thanks to limitations in Android 10+. However, with SwiftKey being an input method, those limitations don’t apply to its access to clipboard data.
We won’t know for a while exactly how this will work in practice, though, since the feature isn’t live yet. Also, the exact mechanism isn’t clear—will it be a dedicated button? A long press? A hamburger menu? They all have their advantages and disadvantages in crowded keyboard real-estate.
The second and perhaps the more pressing is the age-old issue of security and privacy. We’re talking about a feature that sends whatever you put on the clipboard to the cloud, and back again. That means it’s going to pass through any number of nodes where it could be intercepted. We’d want to be very, very confident that it was impenetrable before we thought about copying over bank details with it.
Whatever happens, until SwiftKey goes public with this feature, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Most notably, we have no timescale for when, or even if, this feature will reach stable builds. In the meantime, it’s back to the sharing menu for you.