The announcement of Google’s GBoard keyboard for iOS yesterday caught us all by surprise, but many users were very clear that they wanted the same functionality for Android. A product manager for Google has already confirmed that it will be coming, but while you’re waiting, Slash Keyboard offers basically the same functionality, and it’s available right now on both platforms.
Slash Keyboard is a third-party keyboard for both Android and iOS with some very similar features to GBoard. It offers quick access to search and GIFs, just like GBoard, but it also offers your location, stickers, YouTube videos, FourSquare, your photos, Spotify music, your contacts, Wikipedia articles, Google Maps locations, SoundCloud tracks, Twitter mentions & tweets, Amazon products, articles from the New York Times, songs from Apple Music, and more. You can even create your own commands within the app.
The keyboard looks very similar visually to Google’s own keyboard for Android and it works fantastically. I type just as fast on Slash as I do on Google Keyboard, which is what I usually use. The sole downside to the keyboard is the lack of a swipe keyboard option for typing. Instead you’ll be restricted to “tap typing”. Another possible downside is the lack of predictive text which is replaced which quick buttons for certain actions such as GIFs and Emoji.
Obviously Slash Keyboard isn’t perfect, but it works well and should hold a lot of users over until Google releases GBoard for Android. If you’re on iOS, you might also find the extra functions such as Apple Music quite useful as well. Links to download are below if you’re interested.