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Google brings Gboard to Wear OS for first major app launch in years, more teased for 2021

Gboard today is available on Android, iOS, Google/Android TV, and is now coming to Wear OS. The company touts this as bringing “faster and easier messaging” to your wearable.

Wear OS currently uses an app/service called “Google Keyboard.” Gboard brings a new UI that features better spacing for keys to make everything less visually overwhelming. Meanwhile, the top row features shortcuts to access a new integrated emoji palette, the number keypad, and voice input. Previously, you could not access the microphone without first exiting the keyboard. 

As you type, suggestions appear in the top row, but they are now housed in tiny cards. Google says the “scrollable word suggestions provide more options” as you type, while a “preview screen allows you to review and edit your message, with suggestions and corrections presented to you.” Swipe/gesture input remains available.

Wear OS Gboard

The last tentpole of Gboard for Wear OS is multi-language support. Like on mobile, you can easily switch between different keyboards directly from the app:

While typing, simply tap the language shortcut at the bottom of the screen to choose which language the keyboard appears in. *Gboard will support all languages supported by Wear OS. By default, Gboard will be in the same language as the watch system, but users can change and add languages by long pressing the spacebar.

Old Wear OS keyboard

While apps like Google Fit, Clock, and even Weather have seen major updates in the past, today’s launch is the first major addition to the platform in quite some time. Rather, the wearable operating system has been marked by key app exits, with YouTube Music still lacking a client after the deprecation of Play Music.

Gboard on Wear OS is rolling out in the “coming days,” with the company adding today that it “can’t wait to share what more is in store for Wear OS by Google in 2021!” In the short term, we expect support for third-party Tiles and Android 11 has been mentioned, while I/O is coming soon.

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Avatar for Abner Li Abner Li

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