Feature Friday: GBoard

Quite a few friends and family members of mine are loving Google’s new GBoard third party keyboard for iOS. I am currently on Android and Google has not released GBoard for Android. So unlike most feature fridays, I am not going to be able to explain why I like this feature so much. I expect there are plenty of AVC community members who can do that in the comments.

At USV, we have looked closely at the third party keyboard market. It’s a big opportunity to get in between a user and the two dominant mobile operating systems. There could be a lot of value in doing that. But we ultimately determined that the mobile keyboard market was likely to be dominated by Apple and Google for a bunch of reasons. The emergence of GBoard only reinforces that view in our office.

But you can understand the strategic importance of Google gaining market share in the iOS keyboard market. Every key that is typed on a mobile phone is information for Google’s machine learning algorithms. So getting prime real estate on iOS is super strategic. It is also a smart way to defend their search franchise on mobile.

It sounds to me that Google has delivered a fantastic third party keyboard for iOS. If you have used or are using GBoard, I’m interested in your thoughts on it in the comments.


Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Morning….You spurred a thought that has nothing to do with your topic–sorry!Been thinking alot about this idea that there are things users pay for by relinquishing ownership to the company–a click on a keyboard in your post or my obsession lately, location data.We get services for ‘free’ they get data to parse and use.The huge opportunity that I’ve been wallowing in is how to create value from the most ubiquitous one of all, location data.How you get from static measurements on a map to dynamic data that can remap the world in a different way.Happy Friday!

    1. JimHirshfield

      Happy surveillance Friday.

      1. awaldstein

        Hah!Been selling to the big enterprise and it is an interesting balance between how they view control and what is good for the worker.Took a bit to understand that if you have 20-100K employees and can increase productivity through let’s say contextual based messaging by 5% this is a really huge thing.Different language.

        1. JimHirshfield

          Understood. Location data is powerful, I get it. My sarcasm, that is concern, is that many apps (e.g. games) that don’t need location data are requesting it anyway and using it for other purposes (ads).

          1. awaldstein

            yup. I’m doing something with proximity data which basically injests location data and remaps it to be not where stuff is but where things get closer and farther from each other and triggering preprogrammed responses.think–you are in a huge factory and have clearance to enter a section–when you there you are auto given access. or the obvious mall based ad tech uses or even 10K people on a corporate campus with a shooter loose and you can individually navigate everyone to safety.heady. crazy and powerful stuff.

          2. cavepainting

            Hello Arnold,I did strategy consulting work for a location intelligence company some time back and had mapped out the different opportunities related to monetizing location data. The technology (GPS, Cell Network, Wifi triangulation etc.), User Consent, Govt. Regulation etc. are all key variables in driving the range of possible use cases.I agree with you that location intelligence is indeed a big deal. It was amazing to see Foursquare predict Chipotle’s results with a creepy level of precision using traffic movements from its panel of 10M users. Several Casinos have started to use location to detect fraud as well as eligibility to play. And many telcos are starting to pilot smart step programs that give traffic visibility to out of home advertisers, and help retail companies figure out the best locations to start new stores.Will be happy to chat more some time.

          3. Lawrence Brass

            tiny ads in gboard keys would be cute

          4. JimHirshfield

            Define “cute”

          5. Lawrence Brass

            anything that can get an ‘awwwww’ out of someone, have you ever hold a little bunny?

          6. JimHirshfield


          7. Lawrence Brass

            Now that we have agreed on the concept, picture this: You are using your Gboard and are about to type something, suddenly you detect something strange on the C virtual keycap, what is it? lint? You wipe it and it stays there, you scratch it with your nail but don’t sense any physical feedback, it could be a bad pixel so now it is time to look closer, and closer.. now it blurs so you put on your glasses and look closer.. and there it is, “drink coke”, contact, ka-ching!it is more than cute, its huuuuuuuuuge. 😉

    2. creative group

      awaldstein:How effective is the disable feature for Google location? Very curious.

      1. awaldstein

        dunno off hand.

    3. Lawrence Brass

      I have noticed your interest in location data, you have mentioned it often recently. Just last week while we were upgrading the mapbox libraries we use for a project to a new version, I noticed that Mapbox had added a ‘telemetry’ service. Turned out that this service sends back location data gathered by the use of our app back to them. I thought it was a solution for offline map usage billing, but it is more than that. I contacted them to ask if we could opt out (developer opt out) and they answer was no, it is a requirement now, but the end user can opt out. They go to great lengths explaining this at https://www.mapbox.com/tele…I think we are relinquishing trust, a lot.

  2. colinwalker

    As highlighted by Jon Gruber, the amount of data actually sent back to Google (at least for now) is minimal – https://daringfireball.net/…When Google announced Allo at I/O my immediate reaction was that Gboard was the bait to Allo’s hook – get people excited about what you can do with the keyboard then imagine what it would be like unleashed within it’s own app with the added bonus of Google Assistant thrown in.A potentially clever play by Google to disrupt the messaging market.

  3. JimHirshfield

    Interesting… Keyboard app is the (subversive?) way into owning the user.

    1. creative group

      JimHirshfield:It is apparent the push into AI is the entry to owning and maintaining the user.Anyway to limit or restrict keyboard clicks of information being sent to Google or developer? Similar to turning location and history off…..

  4. LIAD

    instant apps and gboard both belie their true strategic intent.plan a: use instant apps to chip away at app culture by making downloads unnecessary. use as beachhead to reassert dominance of web – by extension secure our cash cow search business for medium termplan b: if can’t bring down app economy use gboard as vector to embed native search in every single map automatically.

    1. Chimpwithcans

      Surely something around growth of messaging apps and strategic intent should be in there too? Everyone and their dog is focussing on messaging – GBoard integrates google into every messaging app around?

      1. LIAD

        GBoard integrates google into **every** app around.

        1. Chimpwithcans

          Is there a DBoard – from DuckDuckgo? 🙂

    2. Phil Chacko

      Makes sense, but I disagree somewhat with plan A as a “reassertion” of web. Google’s more forward looking than that. It’s really a way to deliver a better, more mobile-optimized experience for late adopting users who won’t bother to download apps in a way that hugely differentiates Android from iOS. Apple will have trouble answering.It also fights Amazon by making search -> purchase much better for third party vendors. By integrating Android Pay, Google -> Android Pay helps long tail retailers collectively fight Amazon and better match Amazon’s customer experience.And obviously Daydream is a huge broadside against Facebook’s Gear VR, so GOOG’s making moves.

    3. Victor Muthoka

      And I must say its a plan B that I’m finding convenient, as a user.

  5. Joe Lazarus

    Keyboards are the new toolbars.

    1. fredwilson

      that’s good. really good.

      1. Alex Iskold

        Exactly. And it ain’t over. Far from it.

  6. ASK

    Can’t imagine why they didn’t include a dictation microphone. Big gap

    1. colinwalker

      Apple does not allow third party keyboards to access the microphone.

  7. Minn

    I’ve been using gboard for the last few days and can’t stop raving about it. By turning the keyboard into a search engine, gboard has reduced the number of clicks that it takes to share an address, a web link, or even gifs. It’s even eliminated my need to bitly links because many of google’s web links already are shortened.I may have been late to the game for swype, so gboard is the first time I’m using swipe to text and I’m pleasantly surprised at its accuracy in predictive text. It even has a nice feature of suggesting relevant emojis based on common phrases (e.g. lol).Several people have noted the lack of a dictation microphone, but I think that’s a limitation by the iOS rather than google’s misstep. So far, it’s only lagged or shown glitches on a handful of occasions, but the utility (for me) vastly outweighs the small bugs. Hopefully, they come out with an Android version soon so you can try for yourself!

    1. Carolyn Witte

      Great to hear you hone in on the real “user insight” that sparked Gboard — reducing the app-switching or number of clicks that it takes to share an address, a web link, etc. More details below on the design and user research process behind this:https://medium.com/@carolyn

  8. creative group

    It is difficult to access the strategic positioning of Google when they zigzag. Get dedicated users committed to an app then abandon the app and many times replace with an app with features and offering that integrate with the android ecosystem differently. GBoard is said not to include a dictation microphone as an example.We use SwiftKey keyboard. If GBoard can top the features offered we will switch.Hopefully this GBoard keyboard will be good as advertised. As LIAD listed the main reasons why Google desires to dominate this segment of apps. Data gathered equates to revenue.

  9. Ovi

    Strange enough, it’s locked to the US AppStore only.

    1. colinwalker

      This is just a localisation thing. They are supposed to be extending the release soon.

  10. markslater

    It’s really good. I installed it yeserday.

  11. Mario Cantin

    I can’t be bothered to even check it out — nothing broken for me with the IOS keyboard. I wonder how many millions of people feel the same way. #overload

    1. cavepainting

      I think we often don’t realize what we do not have. Yes, nothing is broken in iOS keyboard. But it is not that smart. I was pleasantly surprised after downloading gboard.Needless to say that this line of thinking may be really bad advice for some other things in life.;-)

      1. Mario Cantin

        Even so. I have no appetite for incremental improvements — too many shiny objects as it is. Who cares about me anyway? My point is I may not be alone.

      2. LE

        I was pleasantly surprised after downloading gboard.After reading a bit about this (because it’s the topic today) I am leaning toward giving it a try even though I also agree with Mario. Little downside risk (as opposed to what I discuss below).Here is the reason I would be a stick in the mud though. In order to find 1 incremental improvement that works I have to try 20 different things of which 19 (these are arbitrary #’s) are useless. So it’s not just 1 download to find something that pays off it’s multiple downloads. This is like picking stocks. You can have a great idea that you should buy twitter and etsy because Fred is long on them but that means you will probably also get ideas for buying other stocks and you will probably lose on them. And over time you will suck a great deal of time with mediocre returns perhaps below alpha. So you have to have the discipline to recognize that unless you are a professional stock picker stay away from stocks. The market is smarter than you reading signals off AVC.com. And definitely smarter than you reading signals elsewhere.

        1. cavepainting

          Yes, I agree. I am willing to experiment more in some cases but it is always tricky for just the reasons you articulated. Social proof can also be misguided some times. Which is why positive signals from trusted sources is the best way to catch the attention of the people you want to get to.

        2. Lawrence Brass

          Buy apples, as Warren does. One apple a day keeps the doctor away.Ok, ok.. wasn’t ‘him’, just someone at his company.

      3. Mario Cantin

        “Needless to say that this line of thinking may be really bad advice for some other things in life.;-)”Particularly marriage, LOL,

  12. pointsnfigures

    It’s interesting to see how iOS and Android work to increase switching costs. It’s also interesting to see how they try to invade each other’s turf. I agree with Fred that it’s going to be awfully hard for a company to “middle” them.A long long time ago when the trading industry was going electronic I was talking to a person that backed a lot of traders. He spent the money to do his own “front end”-the screen you use to access the market-sort of like your phone interface. He said, “Once a trader learns a front end, it’s awfully hard to get them off it.”He intentionally made switching costs high. The core reason was he didn’t want traders to leave his company for other firms, and he wanted to increase the psychological cost of them leaving and going on their own. In the human trading environment, switching costs were pretty low.

    1. Tom Labus

      There was one before bloomberg that was great but got hammered

    2. LE

      Love that. Great old school business story. Very similar actually to what Bezos did with AWS. Coming up with new terms and ways to do old things. Techies will claim that doesn’t create a lock on using AWS but it actually does. Same people that think startup screens are cool (I actually do as well..)Here is a rosetta stone comparing AWS to legacy ways of doing the same thing (that everyone was already familiar with). Only reason AWS named like this was to do what you are describing above.https://www.expeditedssl.co

  13. Aashay Mody

    It’s a good keyboard. I’ve always avoided third party keyboards but had to try it once Google released one and I like it! My only complaint is that the GIFs don’t work in texts or whatsapps, only in emails.

    1. markslater

      Facebook has disabled the paste function in comments. Lame.

      1. pointsnfigures

        The bigger facebook gets, the lamer they get.

  14. cavepainting

    The main and most valuable use case for me is sending maps or links to a destination.The fact that search is embedded and the results are delivered in-context in any app is a big deal. Subconsciously, it makes the user feel more comfortable and confident that he can always get the help he needs without having to take extra effort. You can type a word and get a synonym; you can search for an article and immediately include in a message; or find a relevant image. All in the flow of work and not having to take a detour.Gboard in some ways is the mobile equivalent of the search tool bar in the browser.Gboard is also making the case for google that search is not a stand-alone thing. It is an assistive agent that should be available everywhere and permeate everything.

  15. JaredMermey

    Has anyone figured out multiple-word swipe yet? On my old droid you could swipe across the space key to do this but that doesn’t appear to work on Gboard.

  16. btrautsc

    I’ve been using Gboard (which has its flaws) – but it occurs to me that its the “Slack-ification” of message/writing.In our startup, Slack is the default communication platform now (and before it hipchat, and before that some other thing, and so on back to Google messaging) – but what Slack has done very well is integrate file sharing, tagging, gifs (*huge*) into the platform to make the experience enjoyable/ fast.Gboard is doing the same thing and clearly will be able to do all of that (imagine throwing a GoogleDoc link into a message easily), but taking some of that experience across apps ( my top apps are messaging, Outlook for iOS, Slack, Snapchat)… so its interesting to see if Gboard and similar products will be a foe or friend to the places they operate in.Slack as a platform is brilliant, iMessage for Mac folks is pretty great – but Google is now “in” these other products/ UIs where it didn’t live before.

    1. LE

      Gboard is doing the same thing and clearly will be able to do all of that (imagine throwing a GoogleDoc link into a message easily)It’s a hobby product for google.Yeah but long term the google product will get stale and the best engineering resources will be pulled off of it. It doesn’t appear to be a clearly defined revenue source for them. It’s simply a way to get more people to be around the google brand. [1] [2][1] Google maps does improve but that is such a major contributor to using google (as opposed to a keyboard app) that it stands on it’s own as a reason for google to continue to evolve the product.[2] Otoh Amazon with a service like AWS is constantly improving because they see it as a way toward the bottom line. Not a apples to apples comparison those two things but just a way to illustrate the point. Ditto for slack the product is the revenue source so they can keep engineers excited adding features and benefits and most importantly it’s core to the companies success (like search for google).

  17. Oren Charnoff

    This is the best keyboard of them all. Google was genius to not rush to try and innovate by offering some new features here and try to be first to market. The genius here can be found in their patience. By bringing the trendiest messaging practices (giffs, images), proven mobile typing methods (from swiftkey), in a very compact and efficient space alongside the std keyboard- Google wins yet again.By consolidating and offering everything all in one place, they have essentially built a “keyboard platform” that they can always add the latest and greatest feature to. I expect the keyboard to be on many peoples screen soon, and last for quite some time.It’ll be interesting to see if Apple releases the exact same thing as a standard iphone feature- that way they can win back users and when someone gets a new phone, there’s no need for anyone to turn to another keyboard.On a completely separate note- I love that Google will be absorbing this data. I actually love being watched by these big companies – the more Google knows about me (and everyone) the better search and their offering get.

    1. cavepainting

      i have to say that the thing that worries me the most about the big companies is that they watch our data and know all our secrets. And there is so little transparency about the security and anonymity of the data. The best case is we get better results, but there is also a worst case with very bad consequences, some of which can change people’s lives forever.

    2. cavepainting

      Consider the case of a hacker getting into youtube data and outing search and watch history of users. This is highly sensitive personal data of individuals. And not stuff that you necessarily want the world to know. Personal data has a very dark side and we can only pray that the tech companies take great responsibility and care in protecting it. And there is very little regulation today that affirms the rights of the user and penalizes the companies that may be lax with security or anonymity.

    3. Victor Muthoka

      I might like being watched too but at the back of my mind security concerns usually make me rethink that.

  18. Niv Dror

    Within 10 minutes of using the GBoard I actually took out Emoji and Englishhttp://i.giphy.com/3o6EhDrZ…

    1. conorop

      I did the exact same thing! I kept Bitmoji though 😉

  19. Elia Freedman

    Hard to see third party keyboards taking off on iOS, at least. The process to install is too convoluted to make it a mass market option.

    1. jamesshamenski

      You’d be surprised, the conversion from download > install > begin typing is very good. All keyboard developers I’ve spoken with are impressed with users ability to navigate a techy process.Apple really needs to allow keyboards to be installed via a permission prompt like location or photo services.

  20. TeddyBeingTeddy

    I use swpye and like it, my thumb joints get sore if I type too much without it. I just tried gboard and I can tell after ~30 seconds it’s better than swype. For one thing, it seems to predict words more accurately/quicker. More importantly, it lets you correct inaccurate autocorrects without deleting the entire word. For example, you might try to type “sir” and swype inserts “sit”. if you try to backspace to delete the “t”, it deletes the entire word in swype. gboard seems to not do that. Subtle difference, but trust me it get VERY annoying after a while. I’m sure there’s setting you can do in swype on this, but out of the box gboard is better…and I’m a swype fan. that’s my $0.02.

    1. jamesshamenski

      Yep, small efforts like this quickly build love with a userbase.

  21. jamesshamenski

    As a keyboard developer (mottoapp.com), i’ve looked closely at their product. The Gboard is finding success because 3rd party keyboards are notoriously poorly executed and the Gboard has a great UI and solid engineering.The vast majority of keyboard apps are analogous to the klunky typewriter. The greatest challenge and opportunity is communicating more naturally. That means breaking away from text and finding media which can express your current feeling.FWIW, here’s a breakdown of the Gboard product:GOOD1. Activating the keyboard: Sending the user from the keyboard to app screens directly to iOS keyboard settings is well handled.2. Restaurants and weather are able to be sent as text AND image cards. really nice!3. Typing is solid4. Search for GIF or Emojis is helpful5. I do like how the use of color is reserved for Google’s logo. The UI is compact and yet feels roomy for the process at hand.6. The font they use is thinner than traditional Qwerty typefaces. Feels elegant.7. Emoji category icons are an improved representations of their content. The icons are tiny but easy to access.8. The tap state of a qwerty key has the letter in bold. Nice touch.BAD9. GIF’s seem to be laborious to find. This is pretty standard and just doesnt feel like a good experience to me. This slows down on the time to submit a message which feels like backwards progress for conversion speed. (yes, this is a problem with every GIF keyboard)10. Design is just a bit inconsistent: color icon / line art icon / weight of auto-correct.11. When intending to send an image card, I cant do so without sending the text first. It ends up being redundant, forcing me to send all content via text is excessive and the formatting is very sloppy.12. The keyboard icon for emojis is different than the icon when you’re in the emoji or GIF keyboard13. Not sure why the shift key is white when caps are on. After you tap it, it’s grey.IF anyone is interested in keyboards, I love to get into the weeds and would be happy to chat. You can find me on the Twitters @gladrobot 😉

    1. conorop

      Definitely agree on #1 and #5 in the bad list. I’d add that the ‘Return’ icon looks too similar to the backspace icon. Luckily for Gboard, these are all small fixes.

    2. Mark Essel

      Yeah I was surprised clicking a gif wasn’t enough to paste it into an app.Also extremely annoying spell correct mangling my messages was a killer

  22. conorop

    I absolutely love it. Like @nivdror:disqus, I uninstalled both the basic and emoji keyboards.Swipe is quite accurate. Their predictive text is solid. Searching for emojis is a small but incredibly helpful little feature. Search is handy for sharing addresses and other links. The more integrate with Drive, the better it will get.It is missing dictation, but I imagine that can’t be too far behind.If Google buys Bitmoji, I’ll only need 1 keyboard.

    1. jamesshamenski

      Bitmoji is owned by Snapchat.iOS does not allow keyboards access to the microphone or live camera.

      1. conorop

        I guess I’m stuck with two keyboards and forced to type my messages. 😉

  23. Matt Zagaja

    Decided to retry GBoard after trying and uninstalling it. Honestly this swipe thing is interesting but doesn’t do much for me.

  24. LE

    But we ultimately determined that the mobile keyboard market was likely to be dominated by Apple and Google for a bunch of reasons.Dominated as in “no business opportunity”? I am not so sure about that. If you believe that younger people (high school kids or even elementary school kids) can allow a company to gain a big toehold in a market that older people don’t think about then you have to believe there is a decent chance of them figuring something out that established mature companies did not think of. (Say snapchat as only one example..)

  25. Kyle Matson

    Third party keyboards for iOS have numerous advantages (“swype” typing, one-handed mode for the 6+/6S+), but I think google has locked down support for force-touch (and text-to-speech) to the native iOS keyboard only. I use both multiple times per day, and every time I try a third party alternative, I have to go back.

  26. Daniel Levine

    I love the app and agree it’s the best keyboard out there but it’s just really hard for me to see a third party keyboard sticking around and being widely used long-term. It feels very easy for Apple to copy the great features into the native keyboard on the next software update. Tough but I guess that’s the benefit for Apple of controlling the ecosystem.

  27. Noah Jessop

    Am enjoying it – one thing I thought was of note re their footprint:When you share a venue (did this last night coordinating dinner), it doesn’t link to the google maps / google+ venue, but rather to the native search URL. (Autocomplete helps you get the right place.) Screenshot below.Anything to drive more searches..

  28. Felix Dashevsky

    GBoard description says:”We know the things you type on your phone are personal, so we’ve designed Gboard to keep your private information private.What Gboard sends to Google:• When you do a search, Gboard sends your query to Google’s web servers so Google can process your query and send you search results.• Gboard also sends anonymous statistics to Google to help us diagnose problems when the app crashes and to let us know which features are used most often.What Gboard doesn’t send to Google:• Everything else. Gboard will remember words you type to help you with spelling or to predict searches you might be interested in, but this data is stored only on your device. This data is not accessible by Google or by any apps other than Gboard.”This doesn’t seem to square with either the commenters’ description of access it asks for, nor with Fred’s “Every key that is typed on a mobile phone is information for Google’s machine learning algorithms.” (Note, I personally believe Google sees everything… ).

  29. sigmaalgebra

    A Google keyboard? And a mobile computer? GOTTA be kidding:Something much better: A good PC with an old IBM PC/AT keyboard, that is, a really good keyboard.Good keyboards are important. So is a good PC. And apparently Apple and Google are getting rich from people who haven’t figured that out yet.E.g., just this morning I read a lot of stuff about the rise of powerful analytic bots and agents. Well, mostly those will flop because they can’t really do the desired analytics, Why? E.g., part of the analytics is optimization, that is, mathematical programming. Well, there’s a lot to that field, and I have a relatively good background in it. And this morning I reviewed some work I did long ago. Well, that work depended on my copy of the IBM Optimization Subroutine Library (OSL), and I have that as object code for a certain Watcom Fortran compiler. Well, I don’t want to give up on optimization, the OSL, or that Watcom compiler so, DO want a good PC. Sorry Apple/Android.E.g., the project I reviewed had me use the OSL and some non-linear duality theory I worked up to solve a 0-1 integer linear programming problem with 40,000 constraints and 600,000 variables. Right — in NP complete. Using some bounding inequalities, I was able to show that the feasible solution I found was within 0.025% of optimality — good ’nuff for most work! On my PC, my old code will still run, but there’s nearly no chance of it running on an Apple/Android. Sorry Apple/Google, software compatibility remains very important, MUCH more important than some silly, bad keyboard.As my n-th cheapie keyboard is starting to wear out again, it occurred to me that I have an old PC with a keyboard. Then I learned that the old IBM PC/AT keyboard will still work with current PCs, at least with a PS/2 keyboard connecton — it has the right number of wires and signals — but just needs a little passive converter for the style of the physical plug.Then I learned that my PC/XT keyboard, a great keyboard, maybe even better than the PC/AT, has different signals. But there is an active converter. About time to order that.Gee, Google’s keyboard helps me with spelling. So does my Firefox Web browser. So does my favorite spell checker, ASpell that came with a TeX distribution. Well, I want all my spell checking in one place, and that is ASpell. So, sorry, Google, I don’t want your keyboard doing my spell checking.And, Google, sorry, but I don’t want your keyboard with its “glide” feature, that is, keys with nearly no vertical movement. Bummer.With mobile, tablets, laptops, etc., no or stupid keyboards are all the rage. Another bummer.Instead, for me, find a genuinely BETTER keyboard, and now that means better than my old PC/XT keyboard, or I’ve got other things to do.Mobile, tablets, laptops — upchucks. Google keyboards — double upchuck.Right now, for something else to do, as part of my new summer exercise program, go get some exercise and mow grass for about two hours. Off to it!

    1. Lawrence Brass

      Desktop diehard you. Doesn’t your butt hurt after 10 hours seating? I do offload quite a bit of activity to an iPad, code reviews, emails, chat, avc. It frees you.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        All my stuff’s on my PC. Until there is some really fast, secure, simple remote access means, no way do I want another device. That is, I want single system image, all my stuff conceptually in one place.

        1. Lawrence Brass

          I do love my desktop keyboard too, there is where the real work is done. It is built using cherry MX brown mechanical switches, softer than those used in the IBM PC/AT keyboard. I recall those keyboards, you could tell if someone was working or not just by listening at the noise, clickety-clack. I am a sluggish typist, so any clicky burst to showoff is often followed by a few backspaces.. clack, clack, clack.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            > there is where the real work is done.Now due to Trump, it’s okay for men to say they like girls! YUP! I like girls! Especially PRETTY girls! For the ones that are too young for me, I can like pretty girls because they remind me especially of the prettiest human female I ever saw in person or otherwise and dated when she was 12-13 and I 14-15.So, I’m not against girls! But girls, especially teen girls, tend to go for fashion and social fads. I wouldn’t tell those little angels to do anything else. If those little angels just smile, especially when I was with that girl 12-13, from being happy to be with me, then they make my day, week, month, year, ….!But I have real work to do. For that, no matter how many teen girls follow what fads, no matter how much revered is Steve Jobs, no matter how rich Apple Computer is, no matter how many billion mobile computers are sold, no matter what is politically correct, no matter what the heck Silicon Valley venture capital and hacker entrepreneurs do, etc. no way, NO WAY, will they temp me into using a LESS good tool for my work. Gotta repeat this NO WAY thought.The keyboard I have, about the fourth I’ve worn out (I need to patch this one with some epoxy) in the last few years, is relatively good but still has a big, huge problem: I’m not sure when I have hit the key hard enough for the computer to get the data. So, after hitting the keys not hard enough too often, I start hitting them harder, hurt my fingers, WHACK the space bar, break a pivot on the stabilizer bar of the space bar, etc. (current problem).So, as IBM figured out decades ago, a typist needs a way to get some feedback that they have hit the keys hard enough.Old typewriters? Right, they provided plenty of feedback. But, with computers, there was a problem. IBM no doubt saw this with their 3270 data entry terminals, designed, say, for American Airlines reservation agents and ticket clerks. On this point, IBM was correct.> cherry MX brown mechanical switchesI will have to look those up.> you could tell if someone was working or not just by listening at the noiseYes, and more important, the person typing could tell if they were “working” — i.e., if they were hitting the keys hard enough without hitting them hard enough to hurt their fingers.Also for a touch typist, they should not have to keep watching the screen to be sure they have hit the keys hard enough.Net, the loss of a keyboard as good as the IBM PC/XT, especially the loss of all keyboardsl, is a huge, biggie step backwards, and NO WAY will I go there.Take that Google keyboard.

        2. Lawrence Brass

          Your reference to a “single system image” echoes with all the goodness that I have enjoyed using virtual machines. I use virtualbox to virtualize a standard development image with all the dev tools and supporting libraries, if my main machine burns I get another, install virtualbox and then launch “the image” which I backup regularly. I also have images similar to the servers online. All my backend dev and production is now on Ubuntu GNU/Linux, and the way I got there was through virtualization.

  30. andrewparker

    Sometimes my GBoard fails to load and I’m left with no keyboard when I tap in a text-editable area. Anyone else notice this?The best part of GBoard by far is swiping left and right on the space bar to move the cursor. Such a great hidden feature.

    1. Alex Iskold

      Yes. Its a bug with keyboards, feels like out of memory on the app. Then when you restart the app its back, right?

  31. creative group

    Google Allo Chat App features & Pre-registration option._____________Allo is a messaging app that makes conversations easier, more productive, and more expressive.The Google assistantGet answers, find information, and get things done without having to leave your conversation.Smart ReplyRespond to messages without typing a single word. Smart Reply learns over time and suggests responses in your style. It responds to text and photos to help you keep the conversation going.InkGet creative with the photos you send by doodling on them.Whisper ShoutNo more TYPING IN ALL CAPS to get your point across. Say it louder or quieter by changing the size of your text with a quick swipe.StickersSay what you really mean with exclusive stickers designed by independent artists and studios from around the world.Incognito modeChat privately with end-to-end encryption. Control how long your messages stick around with expiring chats. Use private notifications to hide your chats from shoulder surfers.

  32. daryn

    I love Gboard. I’ve never messaged so many GIFs in my life! :)Swipe-style typing is nice, but the search integrations are the real win for me, especially after being used to :emoji: syntax in Slack.Tried Microsoft’s iOS keyboard app a couple weeks ago, and this one blows it away. Still a few bugs, but few enough to delete my other keyboards and go all in.

  33. JamesHRH

    Anyone know where the Google team that built a Gboard resides?

    1. Michael Weiksner

      You can see that it was lead by Rajan Patel in this blog post: https://googleblog.blogspot…If google it, you can find the rest of Mountain View team borrowed from the Search group that put GBoard together.

  34. pointsnfigures

    downloaded it, love it

  35. Mark Essel

    Tried it. Loved a lot of the features. Hated the autocorrect messing up each and every message. Removed it

  36. george

    Kind of ironic, Google designing products for iOS. Good luck with that strategy, I don’t think keyboard search can grab hold of the keys to Apple’s Kingdom.

  37. Michael Weiksner

    To me the debate is: return of command line interface or search toolbar?I’ve literally bet on the former, as an investor in Slash (here’s why). Diving slightly deeper, think about:1) Service integrations. When you get location results, do you want Yelp or Foursquare? When you search for images, do you want Google Images or Giphy? Log in with G+ or Facebook? GDrive or Dropbox?2) Distribution. Mobile users do 85% fewer web searches a day than desktop user. Slash is partnering with the engaging mobile apps — the Twitters, Foursquares and Giphys of the world — to promote adoption.Potential advantage to Slash, but it is still early days!

  38. rick gregory

    read that again

  39. rick gregory

    Including things previously typed *with this keyboard*. The way I read that it doesn’t allow the new keyboard to access things you’ve typed before on other keyboards.