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Is Google planning to release a third-party iOS keyboard?

According to The Verge, Google is making a third-party keyboard for the iPhone.

Google is already the default search engine in Apple’s iOS browser, Safari, but adding a keyboard with a search option would allow Google to expand even further through iOS.

The move isn’t hugely surprising – if anything, it’s interesting that Google hasn’t already created a keyboard for iOS – third-party offerings have been available since the keyboard was opened up in iOS 8 back in 2014.

The report says that a Google keyboard has been in development for months, citing “people familiar with the matter.”

The keyboard will also make use of gesture-based typing, similar to Google’s Android keyboard which lets users swipe their finger across letters before predicting the intended word. Of course, gesture-based typing is also available via existing third-party apps on iOS, such as Swype [Review].

The Verge also believes it to have Google web search built in, plus distinct buttons for pictures and GIF searches – presumably powered by Google’s own image search.

It’s currently unclear whether Google plans to release the keyboard any time soon, if at all.