Version 7.0 of Gboard entered beta last week with several new features already live, including a universal media keyboard and email auto-complete. Google’s keyboard app is now A/B testing a redesigned interface for voice input.
Gboard has long placed the microphone icon to initiate voice entry at the very right of the suggestions strip. In version 7.0.4, released yesterday, the app is testing a redesign for certain users that places the key directly on the keyboard to the left of the space bar.
Upon tapping, users will also encounter a redesigned voice interface. The “Speak now” or “Listening…” guide remains in the middle of the suggestions strip, but the listening indicator has been centered and enlarged. Visually, this design is much more prominent and helps with visibility.
The placement is interestingly identical to the iOS keyboard depending on whether users have the emoji or language switch key enabled. However, the new key location unfortunately comes at the expense of the comma button.
This test is currently live on only one of our devices. It’s unclear whether Google is committing to the redesign.
Meanwhile, in a minor change since the initial beta, the icon for the universal media keyboard has been squared. Version 7.0 of Gboard is also adding support for Chinese and Korean, with a stable release likely in the coming weeks.
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