The latest Gboard beta features a slew of changes, including a dark theme for settings and the removal of the “Make a GIF” feature. Gboard 8.5 also reveals upcoming Google Assistant integration to share search results in messages, and emoji to GIF/sticker suggestions.

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.

Dark theme settings

Gboard has allowed keyboard themes for ages, with a dark look now extending to the Material Theme settings page, which rolled out in May. Android Q is not required with the dark theme functioning in 9 Pie.

GIF camera deprecated

Version 8.2 in April first revealed that “Make a GIF” would be deprecated. The camera functionality has been removed in Gboard 8.5, with the icon no longer appearing in the top tab.

Google Assistant share integration

Gboard 8.5 reveals upcoming Assistant integration that will make it easy to “share info.” From the initial set of strings, Assistant is not being added to Gboard, but the keyboard app will help transfer information you asked Google about.

Assistant is still activated in the normal fashion, but Gboard will likely act as a conduit to insert rich media — presumably images — into the conversation threads of supported messaging apps. For example, you could possibly ask for movies playing nearby and be able to share that list through a Gboard shortcut. This feature is not yet live.

<string name=”keyboard_type_maestro_promo”>maestro_promo</string>

<string name=”maestro_promo_title”>Share info from the Google Assistant</string>

<string name=”maestro_promo_description”>”In a conversation, you can ask the Assistant for info about movies, dining, and more, and share it in a message.\n\nTo bring up the Assistant, touch &amp; hold the Home screen button or say \\”OK Google.\\””</string>

<string name=”maestro_promo_notice_label”>Find &amp; share info from Google Assistant</string>

Emoji to GIF/sticker suggestions

Emoji is highly expressive and can often convey and capture a complex expression better than words. The GIF keyboard in Gboard is working on a pseudo translation-like feature where picking an emoji will suggest related GIFs or stickers with matching expressions. This functionality is not yet available in Gboard 8.5.

<string name=”setting_enable_emoji_to_expression_title”>Emoji browsing suggestions</string>

<string name=”setting_enable_emoji_to_expression_summary”>Suggest GIF/Sticker content when you select emojis in the emoji keyboard</string>

<string name=”pref_key_enable_emoji_to_expression”>enable_emoji_to_expression</string>

<string name=”suggestions_label_rcs”>Suggestions</string>

<string name=”zero_state_prompt_rcs”>Tap an emoji to get suggestions</string>

<string name=”no_suggestions_error_rcs”>No suggestions for this emoji</string>

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.

Thanks to JEB Decompiler, which some APK Insight teardowns benefit from.

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About the Author

Abner Li

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