Google’s smart keyboard recognizes your hand-scrawled emoji


Google’s Gboard is gaining some additional smarts that could help save some valuable typing time… even if you’re just looking for an emoji. The company has updated the Android version of its clever keyboard with a handful of features that better recognize your intentions. To start with, you can hand-draw emoji to find them — not exactly a vital feature, but helpful if you’re struggling to track down the perfect icon. While this makes more sense on Android Wear devices (where flipping through emoji lists would be a pain), we’re not going to knock the added convenience.

Besides, there’s a more practical addition: Gboard now suggests phrases while you type, not just individual words. This won’t feed you whole sentences like Gmail’s smart replies, but it’ll be helpful whenever you’re writing a common phrase (say, “what do you think?”) and want to spare yourself the effort.

There are a few minor but helpful additions as well. If you use Gboard’s signature search feature, it’ll show multiple, more interactive result cards. Google is also expanding language support to include full feature support for languages like Hawaiian, Maori and Belgian French. It’s not certain when iOS users will see these updates, but it’s really just a matter of time.

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