Gboard prepares a Google Lens shortcut, auto dark theme, more


Google’s Gboard is among the most popular keyboard apps and is constantly updated with new features. Recently, Google added support for Android 11’s emojis on Gboard, just a week after activating Smart Compose predictions messaging apps. Now, Google is preparing to add a Google Lens shortcut, Google Assistant dictation, and support for automatic switching between light and dark themes on Gboard.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

We spotted references to the features coming to Gboard version 9.6.3 beta that came in earlier this week adding with Android 11’s emoji. The following new strings were found part of the latest beta version of the Gboard app, hinting at new dictation feature possibly to replace the current voice typing feature:

Clear Button
Close Button
Mic Button
Search Button
Send Button
Speak now to type hands free

In addition to the typing with Google Assistant, Google is also adding a new “Default Black” theme to complement the “Default White” theme. 9to5Google showcased this by reverse-engineering the newly added features in the latest build. The new black theme comes without the colored enter key and may receive a “System Auto” feature in the theme to switch between the Default Light and Dark themes automatically.

In addition, Google is adding Google Sans font to replace Roboto on the letter keys in Gboard.

9to5Google also highlighted the new shortcut for Google Lens and Google Assistant in the shortcuts row above the numbers row on Gboard. As per their report, the Google Lens shortcut only launches the app and there is no deeper integration for it. Meanwhile, the Assistant shortcut, which has been in works since Gboard 8.5 from last year, is still inactive. However, as the above set of strings spotted by us may suggest, the feature may finally start working soon.


To get these features before most of the users, you can sign up for the Gboard beta either by clicking here or by scrolling down on the Google Play Store listing and tapping on “Join” under the Beta section.

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