Last August, Google rolled out a handful of Material You flourishes on Gboard for Android, and a few more are now coming to the keyboard, including the shortcut bar.
About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” article, we have decompiled the latest version of an app that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we are able to see different lines of code in that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not provide these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be flawed. We’ll try to activate the ones that are about to be completed, though, to show you what they’ll look like in case they ship. With that in mind, read on.
For now, tapping the chevron-shaped icon in the upper left corner drags out various tools, layouts, and shortcuts. The list today includes: Settings, Theme, Text Editing, Clipboard, GIF, Floating, One-Handed, Translate, Share, and Sticker. There’s also the split keyboard on foldables (but not tablets).
Gboard 12.1 is rolling out to the beta channel today and reveals work on a Material You redesign of this bar that a friend of the RKBDI site has been successfully activated. The corner button is still a circle but now uses a 3×3 grid icon.
Meanwhile, shortcuts (or “hotspot” items as they’re called) are now housed in rounded rectangles that are very reminiscent of Material You (MD3) chips. It’s not too different from the assistant voice input UI on Pixel phones (as seen in the cover image above). The background of each element is lighter than the keyboard, which is more pronounced on colorful themes.
You can now have an additional shortcut for a total of five in the bar, although Gboard is working on the possibility of allowing users to customize the number of displays if they really only need one or two. However, the new maximum is because Gboard removes the three dots/overflow on the right and uses the existing corner button for input.
Google has redesigned this view with a more compact grid that is no longer centered. It makes it easy to add more functions in the future, while the text editing layout gets its own Material You modernization with rounded corners for each button.
Another material you update is about settings. The main list is growing, while MD3 toggles are now used everywhere.
It’s unclear when Gboard will widely roll out the Material You bar and other design changes.
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