Let’s be honest here: GIFs and emoji are the new form of communication. As silly as they may seem, they somehow add an additional layer to the way we interact with friends and family over text or instant messages, which can otherwise come off as dry. While emoji has long been a part of Google Keyboard, Google added a way to search them—as well as GIF integration—into the new Gboard update.
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I’d be lying if I said I haven’t spent an unreasonable amount of time looking for a specific emoji, only to scroll past it at least 17 times. Or replied to a friend’s snarky comment with an equally snarky GIF, which would’ve been a whole lot easier had I not needed to jump onto the web, find said GIF, save it, then send it over to the friend. Honestly, I could’ve easily missed the moment if I hadn’t spent the last six years of my life working on the web, which basically means finding GIFs at lightning speed is part of my job.
But life just got easier. Because now I can search for emoji and GIFs directly from Gboard. And it’s super easy.
Basically, if you’re using the newest version of Google Keyboard—which is now called Gboard—then the emoji keyboard got a bit of a makeover. When you tap on the little face to jump into the emoji, there’s a new option at the top: Search Emoji. This is awesome, because if you know what the emoji you want looks like, you can just start typing the description to pull up anything that may work there. It’s fast and easy. I like it.
You can also take your talk-with-pictures-instead-of-words game a step further, because at the bottom of the emoji keyboard there’s a GIF button. Tap that guy to bring up a list of available GIFs—there are suggestions all along the bottom, beneath the GIFs themselves.
If you’re looking for something in particular, though, there’s also a search option here, just above all the GIFs. Tap that, then start searching. It’ll look through popular services like Giphy, Imgur, and even Tumblr, displaying all the options right there in the keyboard section. When you find the perfect animation, tapping it will push it into the message box—you can either send it immediately or add some text.
And that’s really all there is to it: nothing to enable, nothing to tweak. It just works, but still stays out of the way if it’s something you may not want to use. But honestly, why wouldn’t you?
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