Microsoft's Word Flow iOS keyboard adds Gboard-style GIFs, emoji, and web search

Apple's opening of the iOS keyboard floodgates has created enough space for a small skirmish between Google and Microsoft.

Microsoft only introduced its iPhone keyboard—Word Flow for iPhone—in April and the company is already moving to version 2.0. The latest update from the Microsoft Garage project, which launched on Tuesday, adds some new search features that appear to be a direct response to Google’s Gboard that rolled out in mid-May.

wordflowiphone

Word Flow’s new GIF search.

The new Word Flow update adds an easy search function for GIFs and emojis to add a little spice to your messages, as The Verge first reported.

Word Flow can also connect to your contacts, making it easier to share a person’s phone number. Previously the contacts integration feature only made it easier to find a contact.

The new Word Flow also adds built-in Bing search capabilities. Microsoft says you can use Bing to paste in weather forecasts, news, videos, and so on right from the keyboard. That’s actually pretty helpful for sharing something while in the middle of a chat—quickly switching between apps on a mobile device is always a pain.

Google’s Gboard offers similar features to those that have now been added to Word Flow.

The story behind the story: Google and Microsoft’s dueling keyboards are a small skirmish in the two firms’ ongoing rivalry. As the keyboards tie in to search, both companies can gain valuable user information from iPhone users who tend to be a sought-after demographic for advertisers. Actual advertising may not be happening inside the keyboard itself, but any information gained from usage can help to improve search results, better target ads, and so on.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppleGoogleMicrosoft

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

Macworld.com
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?