Gboard, Google’s keyboard app, has a built-in search functionality. This is so that if you needed to quickly Google something mid-conversation, you can do it on the keyboard itself. It’s a pretty convenient tool, and Google has been testing ways to make it even more so, according to Android Police.
While typing with Gboard, you have the option to search for emojis, GIFs and more, when words fail you. This is often an active process, involving you going to their respective sections. The tests in question involves you typing as you would on Gboard, while the Google icon on the top left transforms if it predicts contextual smileys or GIFs that you may use.
For instance, the Google icon may transform into a smiley when it detects an applicable emoji for you to use based on what you typed. If it thinks a GIF would be more appropriate, then that’s what the Google icon turns into. If it thinks you’re looking for information on a specific subject, the icon turns into a magnifying glass instead.
Essentially, once the tests are over and the feature gets rolled out to all Gboard users, the experience will largely be the same. The only difference is that including emojis and GIFs will be a more passive experience, unlike the way it is now. The use of these kinds of media in what was a previously a text-based form of communication is commonplace now, and Google is trying to make their inclusion as seamless as typing is.
Tests for the feature has been going on since as far back as July. It is as of yet unclear when every Gboard user will get the update.