Google recently released an updated beta version of Gboard (v6.9) and while it may not include any major user-facing changes, the updated code hints at a number of features in development. According to an APK teardown conducted by 9to5Google, the underlying code reveals that the Gboard team has been working on a new Smart Reply suggestions feature for incoming notification and a new keyboard. Additionally, the code reveals more information about the ‘Make your own GIF’ feature that was spotted in a previous build.
Smart Reply for notifications
The Smart Reply feature can be found on a number of Google apps, including Allo, Gmail, and Inbox. It features intelligent suggestions based on the messages in the thread. According to the teardown, the Smart Reply feature is now coming to the Gboard. On Gboard, the feature will provide suggestions when replying to notifications from the notifications share and it is speculated that the app will be able to provide phrase-length suggestions for the same.
The following code indicates that the Smart Reply feature for Gboard will work with Hangouts, Android Messages, Google Allo, Facebook Messenger Lite, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger and Tencet:
<string name=”notificationsmartreply_application_filter”>com.google.android.talk; com.google.apps.messaging; com.google.android.apps.fireball; com.facebook.mlite; com.whatsapp; com.snapchat.android; com.facebook.orca; com.tencet.mm;</string>
In order to make use of the Smart Reply feature on Gboard, users will have to provide ‘Notification access’ to the app from the system settings.
Universal Media Keyboard
A particular string of code in the app points at a new ‘Universal Media Keyboard’ which will be able to ‘Search all media’. Once activated, the icon and tab will show up alongside the GIF, sticker and emoji search options. It is speculated that the Universal Media Keyboard will be used for all of Gboard’s media related feature or perhaps a feature that the team might currently be working on.
<string name=”universal_media_keyboard_key_content_desc”>Universal Media Keyboard</string>
<string name=”universal_media_search_hint”>Search all media</string>
Make a GIF
The ‘Make a GIF’ feature, which was spotted in version 6.8 of the app, allows users to make their own GIFs within the keyboard app.
<string name=”feature_card_make_your_own_gif_description”>To start recording your own GIFs, go to the GIF tab, and click on Make a GIF inside the My GIFs category.
<string name=”feature_card_make_your_own_gif_title”>Make your own GIF!</string>
<string name=”feature_card_stickers_everywhere_description”>With Gboard, you now get stickers like our animated blob stickers by default! To share them, just go to the sticker tab!</string>
<string name=”feature_card_stickers_everywhere_title”>Stickers everywhere!</string>
Code found in the latest beta details more functionality of the upcoming feature, including a new way for users to start recording by tapping a new ‘Make a GIF’ button.