The keyboard app is one of the most used software components on any phone. It is the source for your data input. Now, what if you make this source more smart that it will let you search, share and access almost anything across the web? Well, that’s what Google did by launching GBoard on iOS. Yes, iOS. As per my knowledge, this is the first time Google launched its software product on some other platform first. Also, it’s the first keyboard app by Google on iOS. And, they just nailed it. It will come to Android in the near future. But, who likes to wait?
Search and Share Inc. grabbed this opportunity and developed their own version of Gboard for Android. (By the way, it’s actually the Android version of their already popular keyboard app on iOS– Slash Keyboard). So, let’s dig in and see how you can make the best use of this app on your Android phone.
A quick overview of Slash Keyboard – Slash keyboard will let you search through different web services such as Google Search, YouTube, Amazon, Google Maps, Giphy, Apple Music and more. Not just web services but also your phone contacts and gallery images. All of that is accessible right from the keyboard.
Search and Access Almost Everything using Slash Keyboard
Download the app from Play store and set it up. Set the Primary Input to Slash keyboard. And, you’re good to go.
The Keyboard Interface
After you’ve enabled the keyboard, open any chat/messaging application to try it out. On the top of the keyboard, you’ll get shortcuts to different web services. Now, you won’t see all services shortcuts. To access them all, tap on the button with three dots. Or else you can tap on the slash button down at the bottom and search for the service.
Using the Services (aka /Slashes)
Tap on any service that you’d like to use and enter your search query. For example, I’m using WhatsApp here and sharing the Official Music Video of 7 Years by Lukas Graham with my friend.
Tapping on the YouTube shortcut will open a new panel where you can enter your search query. Search results will be displayed as rectangular cards. You can swipe through these cards and select your desired result. As shown above in the screenshot, the link to the YouTube video will be shared directly when you tap on the result. Tapsla.sh is their shortened URL which will redirect you to the actual link.
FYI: Companies and App Developers use shortened links to keep track of how many people clicked that link, from what location did they click it and some advanced uses that help them to gain knowledge about their user’s activities.
Other services work the same. Even the local search for contacts and images work really well. It’s one of the fastest ways to share images from your gallery.
Also, if you’re a GIF fanatic then you also have GIPHY as web service to quickly send GIFs. Also, you can quickly search for tweets of specific users by typing in their Twitter username and also search for tweets using hashtags.
You can further customize the shortcuts on the keyboards in the app settings. You can change the order of the shortcut and also disable the services that you don’t want to use. Or completely disable the Shortcut bar and search only through Slash button.
You can also create your own /Slash which just works like a Text Expander.
You also get different themes to please your eyes.
Better than GBoard?
Well, can’t say until GBoard lands on Android. Becuase, iPhone users have mixed reviews about GBoard. Some say it lags while typing and some say it’s the best innovative keyboard on iOS and some are just afraid of Google stealing their data. So, let’s wait. Till then, Slash Keyboard is definitely the best app on Android to experience your favorite web services right from your keyboard.