The latest Gboard beta is rolling out and continues work on a handful of features we’ve been tracking in recent months. Gboard 7.9 is preparing for more emoticons/kaomoji, faster voice typing, and predictive content search.

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.

Faster voice typing

Gboard 7.9 continues work on “Faster voice typing” by downloading the necessary models on device. In addition to speed, it also allows dictation to work without a data connection. Since we last enabled, users now have the option to download the offline elements immediately or “wait for Wi-Fi.”

Update 1/18: Version 7.9.4 rolled out to the beta channel yesterday and enables faster speech-to-text that also works offline without an internet connection. The necessary US-English models are 85MB with a notification from Gboard alerting users to the availability after updating. Additionally, users can visit the revamped “Voice typing” menu in Gboard settings to enable, or disable the feature entirely.

<string name=”faster_voice_typing_toast”>Faster voice typing is enabled</string>

<string name=”on_device_voice_notification_content”>Download faster voice typing on your device (85MB, US-English). Once downloaded, you can use it offline.</string>

More Emoticons/Kaomoji

Apps like Messages have long featured an easy way to enter Kaomoji with text shortcuts. With version 7.8 last month, Gboard began expanding the list of available “emoticons” — as Google officially refers to them — and today’s update introduces a tweaked selection interface. In Gboard 7.9, Google uses clearer text labels to note each category tab and aid in selection.

Predictive Content Search

Back in November, Google announced that it is leveraging on-device machine learning in Gboard to suggest relevant searches, stickers, emoji, and GIFs as users type. In “Search” settings, Gboard has updated “Predictive search” to “Predictive Content Search” and now notes the added capabilities.

Modified Sand theme

The Sand theme is slightly tweaked with the “enter” key now bright pink instead of a darker shade of brown. “Sand” was rumored as a name for the “Not Pink” Pixel 3, and was likely the codename. The new Gboard theme and key matches the “touch of color” on the power button.

Activities and events emoji

Version 7.9 upends “events” to the “activities” emoji category.

string name=”emoji_category_activity”>ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS</string>

Gboard 7.9

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 is perilous given 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

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: