Google today released a new version of the official Google Keyboard to the Play Store, most notably bringing along with it dictionary syncing to Google accounts (Apps for Business accounts excluded, it seems) and the ability to access emoji from physical Bluetooth keyboards.
Personal dictionary syncing will be useful for those who use lots of slang and have added all of it to the dictionary, as when personal dictionary syncing is toggled on you won’t have to re-add all of your words when you switch between Android devices. Enabling the feature is as simple as visiting Accounts & Privacy in the Settings app and switching “Google Keyboard Sync” on. Many will be happy to know that Google has thoughtfully included the option to delete all synced keyboard data from its servers, as well as a toggle for sending usage statistics to Google.
The other notable change in Google Keyboard 4.1 is that users of physical keyboards can access emoji by pressing the Alt key when “Emoji for physical keyboard” is enabled from the keyboard advanced settings.
Finally, the biggest two things that were removed from Google Keyboard are phrase input from gesture typing and control over the aggressiveness of text correction. Previously Google Keyboard had a feature that allowed users swiping in words to swipe down to the spacebar mid-word to autocomplete it and move on, but apparently it didn’t work very well and not many people used it. As for text correction aggressiveness, we’re not sure why they removed it but it’s safe to assume that there was one setting, likely what the default is now, that provided the lowest amount of manual corrections after initial input, and so they just killed off the others. You should be able to pull the update down from Google Play now.