Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has rolled out new updates for its Word Flow keyboard, the customized keyboard’s biggest one yet. The update came just a few months after Google introduced the GBoard keyboard with built-in search for iPhone. Unlike Word Flow, the GBoard was designed to provide information and make online searching convenient for users. It also features a built-in GIF and emoji finder. The new updates made GBoard extremely popular because the fun element changed how iPhone users are interacting with their device.
In an effort to be the best customized keyboard for the iPhone, the Redmond tech giant is offering the same exact features.
Just like how GBoard is integrated to search engine Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Microsoft’s Word Flow is integrated with the company’s search engine, Bing. This feature allows users to look up any content (news, weather, videos, articles, etc.) online without leaving the keyboard app.
Word Flow allows users to post animated pictures on the clipboard, including GIFs. The keyboard is also able to select GIFs from certain words typed. For instance, if you type in “deal with it,” a related GIF will pop up. Word Flow now comes with swipe feature, offering the ability to text via swipe or suggested words, perfect for typing while in a rush.
In addition, sharing content and information online is easy with just a tap. If a user doesn’t want to share said info, it will be saved in the history, a feature that’s near identical to GBoard.
As for unique feature, there’s a few. Microsoft’s updated keyboard comes with a one-handed typing mode display, which allows users to reach all letters with just a thumb. When activated, the one handed typing mode displays a wheel-like interface on the side of the screen. Word Flow offers more control to users, allowing for better cursor placement using 3D touch. Microsoft scored brownie points for improving accuracy and support for iOS text replacement function.
Microsoft’s customized keyboard was developed by the conglomerate’s R&D division, Microsoft Garage. It is one of the several of third-party keyboards that Microsoft has developed for mobile devices. The tech behemoth recently came out with Hub, which is an app that offers multitasking features and easy access to productivity tools like OneDrive and SharePoint. To improve Word Flow’s features, Microsoft also acquired SwiftKey for a cool $250 million. The acquisition allowed Microsoft to integrate SwiftKey’s swiping feature into the Word Flow.
At no.78 on App Store’s most downloaded app in the Utilities category, Word Flow has a long way to go in terms of besting Google in the game, which is no. 54 on the list, according to App Annie.
Word Flow’s updated version is now available on the App Store. Do note that because the app is not working on iOS 10 dev beta, we recommend waiting it out until the final version of the OS is released.