Following the last beta revealing that Google was developing a new floating keyboard, the new mode is momentarily visible to users after installing this latest update. Meanwhile, version 7.6 of Gboard also features more work on Smart Reply for notifications and other minor tweaks.
About APK Insight: In this ‘APK Insight’ post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in the case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.
The new floating keyboard is just another mode — like One-handed — and is accessed in a similar fashion. When available, users can head to the Gboard overflow menu and will be greeted by a new Floating button.
When tapped, a miniature keyboard appears with a D-Pad at the bottom to drag around the screen. Users can adjust the size of the window, with full functionality available as the regular docked keyboard. When not in use, the window becomes transparent to allow users to read what’s on the rest of the screen without interruption.
The new functionality in Gboard momentarily appeared on two of our devices, but quickly disappeared, suggesting that it’s not ready for primetime.
Update 10/19: As of this evening, the floating keyboard is now live for Gboard 7.6 beta users. Tapping the D-Pad allows users to adjust the size of the window by dragging the corners. It cannot stretch the full-width of the display, but it can shrink.
Bringing the floating keyboard all the way to the bottom of the screen will re-dock it, or users can re-tap the icon. This keyboard is persistent and returns after users re-open a text field.
Smart Reply for notifications
Gboard has resumed work on Smart Reply for incoming notifications that appear in Gboard’s suggestion strip. The included strings note “internal_state” and suggest they are still under development.
<string name=”setting_include_notification_smart_reply_internal_state_summary”>Include internal state of Notification Smart Reply extension in the report.</string>
<string name=”setting_include_notification_smart_reply_internal_state_title”>Notification Smart Reply Extension</string>
Emoticons are a popular form of expression that leverage punctuation, spacing, and various characters to make faces and convey other feelings. However, they are a pain to type out manually given that many of the keyboard characters are not easily accessible. Fortunately, Gboard has a built-in selector, and is preparing new emoticons:
<string name=”emoticon_description_angelic_face”>angelic face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_angry_face”>angry face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_cheeky_face”>cheeky face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_confused_face”>confused face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_cool_face”>cool face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_crying_face”>crying face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_excited_face”>excited face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_happy_face”>happy face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_sad_face”>sad face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_shocked_face”>shocked face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_skeptical_face”>skeptical face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_smiley_face”>smiley face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_straight_face”>straight face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_tired_face”>tired face</string>
<string name=”emoticon_description_winking_face”>winking face</string>
Dark theme battery saver
Back in version 7.4, we spotted Gboard preparing an automatic dark theme that turns on when the system battery saver is enabled. Over the past several days, it has begun rolling out with the Gboard 7.6 beta.
The “Switch to dark theme in battery saver” toggle is located in the Preferences menu under the Layout section. Google notes how “Gboard can save power on OLED screens by going dark.”
In practice, the switch is not instantaneous. If users already have a keyboard open when the battery saver is enabled, it will not automatically update. It has to first be closed and then reopened. Meanwhile, the dark theme is one of the already available themes that users can select.
How to update?
You can sign-up for Gboard’s beta program here or by heading to the Play Store listing on Android and scrolling to the bottom. The latest beta version of Gboard is immediately rolled out by Google when it’s available.
We do not post APKs to download directly given the legal challenges associated with copyright and possibility of removal. Meanwhile, that model moving forward is perilous given upcoming system-level changes from Android App Bundles and Google Play’s Dynamic Delivery.
Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.
Dylan contributed to this article