Google is building a third-party gesture-based keyboard for Apple's iOS to be used in iPhones. Apple had added support for third-party keyboards from iOS 8 onwards, allowing users to have access to more advanced prediction based typing.
The predictive keyboard under development has been in circulation among employees within Alphabet, Google's parent company, for months. According to Verge, the keyboard will include integrated search, where users can directly search by typing a word in messaging and other apps. This will lead to Google's search engine getting a boost. The functionality of the keyboard is said to be similar to SwiftKey and Swipe, which are already available for iOS users.
Although Google is the undoubted leader of search engines recent reports have shown that mobile search is much less lucrative for the company than desktop. Journalist Charles Arthur had argued in October last year that half of smartphone users perform zero searches per day while desktop users perform an average of 1.23 searches per day.
The latest development indicates that Google is looking to expand its reach on iOS beyond the current apps it already makes for the OS which includes major ones like YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, Chrome, and Google Search. Integrating search into the keyboard will enhance Google's domain in the iOS ecosystem. As of now it is unclear when the keyboard will be released.