Whether you are using an Android or an iOS device, the features of the Keyboard on our phones play a big role in our speed of communication.
Google Keyboard (also known as Gboard) and SwiftKey have ruled the mobile keyboard space for a long time, although they both have definite weaknesses and strengths that we are going to look into.
Also, before we start looking into the differences between the two keyboards, let’s know that there is no absolute, better-for-everyone, hands-down winner here.
Keyboards are a highly subjective application category, so after looking at the keyboard features, we might have different choices. Let’s take a look at the two apps.
Google’s Keyboard (also known as Gboard) is a virtual keyboard developed for iOS and Android devices. Gboard was first released on iOS in May 2016, then released on Android in December 2016.
Millions of users use Gboard on iOS and Android. The developers made sure the app that new functionalities are being added to the app over time.
Update to the virtual Keyboard has enabled additional functionality, including support for voice dictation, GIF suggestions, hand-drawn emoji recognition, options for a dark colour theme, or adding a custom image as the keyboard background, and next-phrase prediction.
In August 2018, Google’s Keyboard (Gboard) passed 1 billion installs on the Google Play Store, making it one of the most popular applications on Android.
The popularity of the app is measured by the Google Play Store and includes pre-installed instances of the app as well as downloads by users.
Microsoft SwiftKey (commonly known as SwiftKey) is a virtual keyboard application developed by TouchType for iOS and Android devices. SwiftKey was first released for Android in July 2015, then released on iOS in September 2014 (after Apple allowed third-party keyboard support).
The virtual Keyboard has a lot of cool features. It gives you more accurate predictions and autocorrection by learning from previously typed text and outputs predictions based on what it has learned – including the emoji, words, and phrases that matter to you.
The Keyboard’s approach to punctuation and customizable instruction bar make it easy for advanced editors to get what they want to be typed fast.
Gboard vs SwiftKey: Which Keyboard is better?
Google’s Keyboard is a popular app on iOS and Android devices. It is usually preloaded on most Android phones, so it is commonly used among newer users that might still be getting used to using an on-screen keyboard.
Gboard and SwiftKey have some common features like an in-keyboard search engine, GIF searching, floating keyboard support, and emoji predictions. Let’s take a look a look at some of the reasons why we would prefer one of the keyboards to the other.
1. Clipboard access
Sometimes we might need to do some insane amount of copying and pasting. However, the two apps give easy access to the clipboard. Still, SwiftKey’s feature bar allows users’ to easily paste multiple items without having to long-press and find the clipboard option every time.
Especially when the user is working on themes that have hex colour codes which need to be copy-pasted to multiple places in a different order. This makes SwiftKey a lifesaver for live-tweeting with multiple hashtags and for confirmations.
Also, Google’s keyboard’s clipboard skills have improved lately, but it is not better than SwiftKey’s.
2. Symbol swiping
Microsoft SwiftKey allows you to swipe right and left on the period button to quickly add? and ! to sentences. On the other hand, Gboard allows you to long-press and drag the? and! symbol to your sentences.
For someone that is naturally curious and excitable, these symbols will be very important to him or her, and he or she wouldn’t want to switch pages or long-press to use them every time.
Gboard doesn’t support the feature of swiping to use symbols on both iOS and Android, but this feature is enabled on SwiftKey (both iOS and Android). Symbol swiping helps the users’ to quickly add brackets or other formatting symbols to their sentences.
3. Prediction Layout
Predictions on Google’s Keyboard and SwiftKey are nice, but their prediction layout is different. Google’s Keyboard is popularly known for this feature; years and years of using the Keyboard will result in showing relevant and useful predictions that have been used over time.
Google’s Keyboard shows three possible suggestions in the prediction bar while the intended word sits in your actual document or text box (seen left).
This means that you see more predictions, and there’s no repetition. However, these look okay, but the layout can seem confusing to the person typing because he or she might end up tapping the center prediction.
Most times, the center prediction might not be the word the person wanted to use. Unlike SwiftKey, where the intended or typed word is seen in the center, while predictions are on either side.
4. Sticker Pack Support
One major advantage of Google’s Keyboard over the SwiftKey is the ability to import and support stickers from other sources. Stickers are now popularly used on social media platforms.
However, they are similar in appearance to emoji, but they have distinct characteristics. They often contain diverse gestures, animation, and objects, and multiple characters.
This is an area where Google’s Keyboard has an upper-hand on SwiftKey. To make your conversation more fun on the phone when using Gboard, you can download and use some sticker packs from Google Play.
Swiftkey doesn’t support external sticker packs( that is packs from other sources), it is designed to use the internal packs only.
From what we have looked into above, we can see Google’s Keyboard features including its prediction prowess and continued inclusion of superb features like GIF searching, floating Keyboard, and custom emoji and external sticker pack support.
Google’s Keyboard supports a wider range of dialects/character styles and languages than SwiftKey, and Gboard’s also got the upper hand when it comes to sticker pack selection, in-keyboard web search, and, GIF searching.
Media and word prediction on Gboard is a bit faster and better than SwiftKey, due to Google’s machine learning leverage to learn your habits and vocabulary more quickly.