Google's Android Keyboard Adds One-Handed, Gesture Typing


Google's Android-based keyboard is getting an update that includes the ability to type with just one hand.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg. Google also added Gesture Typing, allowing users to slide their fingers around keys to write out a complete word. Users can also dictate text and will find improvements to auto-correction and next-word predictions.

"Google Keyboard makes typing fast and easy with gesture and voice," the company says in its app description. "Glide through letters with Gesture Typing to enter words - just lift your finger to finish a word and gesture again, no spacebar required. Compose text on-the-go with Voice Typing."

In addition, the app comes with full emoji support for the times when users "can't find the right words."

Google's update comes at a time when smartphone screens are getting bigger and being able to type with one hand more difficult. In order to activate the one-handed feature, users can simply hold their fingers down on the comma. The keyboard then changes size to make it easier to type with one hand. Tapping another button returns the keyboard to its full-screen width.

While Google has a decided advantage—its keyboard is running in hundreds of millions of Android-based devices—there is a growing fight over keyboard dominance. Just last week, Microsoft released its Word Flow keyboard, which also comes with one-handed support, to iPhones. Microsoft also owns SwiftKey, a popular third-party keyboard maker.

Google Keyboard is available now as a free download on Google Play.

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