Google has updated their keyboard app, bringing it closer to KitKat in regard to aesthetics. Gone is the trailing blue line, and in comes the grey we’ve seen in KitKat builds. The update also brings a really neat addition to swipe-to-type, potentially making long messages really quick and easy.
The update gives users the ability to continue swiping through spaces with what Google is calling “space aware gesture typing”. So swiping out “Android Community is my favorite website” doesn’t have to be interrupted with lifting your finger. By simply swiping over the space bar, the keyboard picks up what you’re trying to say.
Oddly enough, the keyboard is different on the phone and tablet. The Nexus 5 (and Nexus 4) shows a keyboard with the ability to long-press for apostrophes and such, while the update for the Nexus 7 2013 we have doesn’t have that option. The swiping feature is present, as is the grey trailing line, but the layout has changed. In the image below, the Nexus 5 keyboard is on the bottom, with the Nexus 7 keyboard on the top. As you can see, different layouts, and different functionality. That’s a bit frustrating for those who want a unified approach across devices.
We will caution that, if you’re a quick swipist (not typist), the trailing grey line could end up making a mess of your screen. Without having to lift up for spacing, the line ends up looking like a Jackson Pollock on your keyboard. Overall the fix is smooth, and having the emoticons handy (for supporting devices) is great, but the different layouts and functionality bother us a bit.