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Gboard brings floating, transparent keyboard to beta

Gboard (opens in new tab) is one of the best keyboards on the market — paid or free — with a vast array of features and great stability, thanks to all the bugs that get ironed out in its beta before they can impact the tens of millions of people using Google's awesome keyboard. If you're a beta tester, your Gboard just got a new layout that's great for filling out awkward forms and for the spookiest season of the year: the new floating keyboard option.

It's easy to turn on the floating keyboard in the new Gboard beta, its sitting in the three-dot menu behind the keyboard's Google logo, and that's where you'll go to turn it off again when you're done floating around. The floating keyboard has a movement dot at the bottom for dragging it around your screen, and after repositioning it, brackets appear at the edges of the keyboard to let you resize it — which is great because the default size was a little small for my thumbs. You can't change the aspect ratio of the floating keyboard, just make the whole thing bigger or smaller.

As if this wasn't cool enough, if you leave the keyboard alone for about 10 seconds, the keyboard turns transparent so you can see the text below it. It's like Casper the friendly keyboard!

While it's not clear how long it might take for this feature to reach the stable channel for Gboard, new layouts are always welcome, especially ones that make it easier to fill out awkward forms or reference a wider section of the screen while composing a scathing Reddit reply.

Want to join the Gboard beta and try its floating keyboard? Opt-in here. (opens in new tab)

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

16 Comments
  • I still miss ye olde Swype functions of continuous swiping through the space bar for new words.
  • Well Gboard is doin wonderful things. Great updates but I still like SwiftKey. When typing with SwiftKey all your emojis pop up as you type, Gboard doesn't give you that option, one reason why I think SwiftKey is better but I like Gboard too of course...
  • Wow. Much Great. So useful.
    Maybe now they'll take a little time to work on the HORRIBLE text prediction.
  • THIS, SERIOUSLY. It seems to ALWAYS think I want an s when I want an a... So frustrating.
  • And what's with the lower case "i"? And sometimes not giving an i at all and giving a u... I know some people use it as a word, but I'm not one of them and Google should've learned that by now. And correcting words I manually type because my vocabulary is apparently larger than anything the world's largest search company can access... And not letting me permanently disable one handed mode...
  • Yep. I am constantly changing that u into an I... It's like Google is trying to make us be - hip -. I just want to type regular English sentences for Christ's sake...
  • Agreed, it's ducking nuts.
  • When would this floating keyboard actually be useful??? I don't really see the advantage???
  • BlackBerry keyboard is the best keyboard on Android. 'nuff said.
  • I agree. BlackBerry VKB is excellent. That and the HUB were the first things I added to my S9 back in March
  • I tried running VKB and Hub on my V20 and it bogged it down to near useless. Now that I've got a Note 8, I need to try them again. Any lag on your S9 with those two apps?
  • I wish it had a built-in clipboard.
  • I used to think that Swiftkey was the best. Their text prediction was second to none. It was so intuitive it was eerie. However, after Microsoft bought the company it seems to be a lot less good. Microsoft could screw up a crowbar.
  • 10 seconds feels like an eternity to wait to see the text below. You could go through the settings and turn off the floating keyboard option faster. Not seeing an advantage to this feature.
  • I've been using Gboard for a long time. Honestly, I hate it when I want to type in my mother language, they change it to other English words. Then, I tried so many other keyboards. Typany is doing pretty good. At least they didn't correct me to something that I don't want.
  • I would also recommend trying the blackberry onscreen keyboard. It seamlessly transfers from English to German to Japanese (the three languages I've used it with) so it likely works with whatever languages you use. I've never used Typany, so I can't speak to it.