I could not ask for a better birthday weekend. I just got my Samsung Galaxy S4 in this past week, Google rolls out’ The Google Keyboard” app on The Play Store for android devices. I’m certainly not complaining folks!
The Google Play Google+ page describes this app as:
The Google Keyboard is now on Google Play: goo.gl/G2OfB. Type faster and more accurately with gesture and voice typing, word recognition, next-word prediction, and more.
After having the Galaxy S4 for about a week, I described the keyboard as ”slippery” to my friends who were curious as to why I switched from the i5. Without digressing my Android Fan-ily, we’ll save that conversation for a next post. I’m a pretty savvy Android user and had the Samsung Moment, Epic, SIII and now the S4. So I was pretty savvy with the text inputs available for android phones.
Thanks to the Google Play google+ handle, I saw that the Google Keyboard app came out on June 5th, 2013. My fingers skedaddled to the Play Store to immediately test it out.
My Test Cases:
Having used SwiftKey, which I had purchased on the Galaxy SIII, I was hopeful that I would have an easier experience. On top of that, Galaxy S4s were reported to utilize SwiftKey into their Samsung keyboard input. With a slightly bigger screen than the the S3, the thumb was just not quick and long enough to have the same smooth typing experience that I experienced on the Galaxy S3. Swyping on the swiftkey seemed easier than typing in individually. But ironically, I had to keep going back and changing individual words one by one which was counter-productive.
The Samsung keyboard provided some hope with smaller keys and the ability to still swype. But I was running into spelling errors as I was typing. The typing was not fluid.
The Swype keyboard provided a similar experience like the Samsung Keyboard. Its swyping capabilitie were much better than individual word typing. But individual words had to be typed as some word suggestions/mistakes were extremely far off.
With the Google Keyboard, both typing and swyping (known as “gesture typing” in Google settings lingo) worked much more seamlessly. The keyboard has a more reserved layout but its much easier as a simpler, usable user interface. Punctuations are available in the number keyboard when pressing “?123” or holding down the period button (which can easily be overlooked by users). The Google Keyboard also has a solid auto-suggest word feature (called “content suggestions” in Google lingo) much like the keyboards mentioned above.
Overall, as a user advocate, I would encourage users to not boggle their minds over a variety of keyboards, and start out with the Google keyboard first. Being a pretty savvy user, I was having trouble with the other inputs above for a week. The Google keyboard has relieved my english major ticks of not having crazy spelling errors in my texts and quick emails!