Google rumoured to be developing their own keyboard for the iPhone

The rumoured keyboard reportedly has gesture recognition and built-in search functions

Google is reportedly working on a third-party keyboard for iOS with built-in search features.

As The Verge claims, Google's keyboard would work like a replacement for the stock iPhone version, and is filled with features like web and image search, GIF support, and gesture-based typing, similar to the already popular swipe keyboard apps (like Google's Android version).

The keyboard has reportedly been tested by Google employees (or 'Googlers') for the last few months, although it's unclear whether the company plans to release it to the public any time soon. We've contacted Google to find out.

A keyboard with a built-in search feature would obviously help Google make money, since figures suggest that people don't do Google searches on their mobiles nearly as much as they do on desktop.

Without these search pages on which to sell ads, Google would lose money, and as the mobile internet becomes bigger and bigger, the problem will get worse. Sticking a search button on a mobile keyboard could reverse the trend.

Third-party keyboards aren't the most glamorous things in the world, but they've proved lucrative - Microsoft bought British predictive text company SwiftKey for a huge $250m (£177m) in February this year.

Obviously Google is the mega-corporation in this example, not the small London startup. But the SwiftKey deal shows that users are interested in better keyboards, and advances in gesture input and predictive text which can benefit disabled people are of real interest to tech companies.

If Google's plans ever come to fruition, you might soon have one more keyboard to cycle through when trying to find your emojis.

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