The latest Gboard beta is faster, with better support for handwriting

Gboard on a Pixel 4 XL
Gboard on a Pixel 4 XL (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google just released a new beta for Gboard.
  • The release focuses particularly on improving performance by reducing start-up times and latency.
  • It also adds better support for handwriting input.

Google's Gboard is one of the best Android keyboards out there. It's also the default keyboard on many phones, meaning you're most likely using it on your phone right now. And while keyboards aren't the fanciest of apps, they most definitely are among the most important, underlying our interactions with almost every other app.

Because we hop in and out of it all the time, it's essential to have a keyboard that's performant and doesn't take ages to load-up. That's why Google, with the latest beta for Gboard (via Android Police), is going back to the basics and focusing on improving start-up times and reducing keyboard latency, so your input is registered as soon as you tap a key.

In addition, for those who prefer handwriting instead of typing, Google is also expanding Gboard's functionality in that regard. With the new beta, handwriting input in English will now support spelling corrections, as well as next-word predictions, much like the typing keyboard.

Moreover, while Gboard already supports handwriting for a wealth of languages, the company is continuing to work on improving access to technology by adding Tibetan as one of the supported languages for handwriting.

Google should eventually push the updates to the stable release but if you'd like to get your hands on the new features immediately, you can go ahead and sign up for the Gboard beta here.

Earlier in the month, Google also pushed a more light-hearted update to the keyboard called 'Emoji Kitchen' that lets you mix and match emoji for some really hilarious creations. I don't know if a poop emoji with hearts implies love or disgust, but either way, you can now send it to your significant other and try and find out.

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Muhammad Jarir Kanji