164. Gboard – a Better Keyboard to Type Faster on a Smartphone

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Not a member? Join here. This episode covers:

  1. Tip of the Day: Reading a QR code from a photo
  2. Beginner’s Lesson: GBoard – a faster way to type
  3. App: InstaCart

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is qt.jpg

If you see a QR code, but don’t want to read it right away, just take a photo!

Chris shows how they took a photo of a billboard with a QR code and then used Google Photos sometime later to read that QR code and watch the resulting video. Just open Google Photos, find the photo with the QR code and tap the Lens button – the third one from the left at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see a bunch of dots running around the photo. When it’s done you’ll see a link to tap on to view the results.

Try it! Take a photo of your screen with the QR code below, open it in Google Photos and scan it. It takes you to a form where you can sign up for our weekly tip newsletter.

5:52 Beginner’s Lesson – GBoard

If you hate typing key-by-key on these little phone keyboards, you owe it to yourself to try Glide typing.

Just using one finger, you drag over all the letters in your word and only lift finger in between words. It will notice every letter you touched, come up with all the possible combinations of those letters and compare them against a dictionary. When you lift up between words, it will automatically add a space.

Here is the video that demonstrates the basics
555.SM-What is Glide Typing?
Chris also demonstrates double-tapping the space bar at the end of a sentence to add a period and a space, and longpress on the period key to pop up all your punctuation marks.

Android – the built in keyboard can do this “glide” typing
iPhone – the built in keyboard cannot do “glide” typing

Here is the video that shows how to install GBoard on iPhone.
556.SM-iOS Install Gboard
First download the App – GBoard by Google – it’s free. Next you open your settings, General, Keyboard, select the GBoard keyboard and Allow Full Access. When you’re on a screen with keyboard, and you don’t see the multicolored G that indicates GBoard, you need to longpress on the globe button to the left of the spacebar and drag up to select Gboard. When you’re using GBoard, you may want to change settings. To get to settings you longpress on that globe button and choose Settings. Chris demonstrates changing the setting for “show number row.”

Here is the video that shows installing on Android:
557.SM-Install Gboard on Android

Use your Play Store to find and install GBoard by Google. Then go into your system settings, General, Language and Input, keyboards, onscreen keyboards, find GBoard and turn it on. When you are using a keyboard, look for the multi-colored G. If you don’t see it, you need to select the GBoard keyboard – look for the tiny keyboard icon at the bottom right, tap that and choose GBoard. To change settings, such as Top Row of Numbers, Tap on the G then you should see a gear for settings.


Security, I know people who have been scared away from installing GBoard because of the security message they get during installation. Actually, this is the same message you get with any 3d party keyboard. If you want to use its special features and you trust that the publisher (Google) is legitimate, then feel free to give it full access.

22:57 Demo – iOS

Here’s the video that demonstrates translation, GIFs, and Google Search
558.SM-Gboard Translate and GIF Search on iOS

Translate: just find the Translate button after tapping the G. Tap the Translate button and check that it is reading and writing the languages you want. Then you can type in your language – when you tap Translate – it will enter the other language in the results window.

GIFs: if you want an animated GIF, you start by tapping the emoji button to the left of the keyboard. There you will find emojis, emoticons, and GIFS. You can use the Search field to type something you want Happy, or Turkey, etc. and it will display matching animated GIFs. Tap the one you want and it will be copied, then you need to paste it into the message line. (this demo is on iOS, on Android the first tap inserts it into message AND sends)

26:33 Search: This is a Google keyboard after all! So you can search for a restaurant, for example, and then insert the results into your message without ever leaving the messaging app. To start searching, just tap the G and type what you’re searching for, tap Search. If you see what you’re looking for, tap it and tap Share.

28:01 Android demo Voice dictation is also available from the GBoard – just tap the microphone button at the right end of the line that starts with the G. You can see an indication that it is listening – speak and your words will be written for you. Tap the microphone again to stop it from listening. Note: on the iPhone the microphone button is on the spacebar – longpress it.

  • Deleting multiple words – start with your finger on the backspace key and drag from right to left.
  • Double-tap space bar to enter a period and a space
  • Fractions: long press on the first number e.g. 1 for 1/2
  • Punctuation: longpress on the period, OR longpress on a key with the symbol you want above it. Note: some letters have multiple options with the longpress – like the umlaut
  • To move cursor left and right – drag on the spacebar
  • Clipboard: GBoard gives you access to multiple items that you’ve copied. It remembers them for an hour. You insert items from your clipboard by tapping the G, then the clipboard button, then the item you want to paste. Note: this is not available on iOS … yet.
  • Translate: Tap the G – if you don’t see the translate button there, tap the 3-dot “more” button and you will see it there. Make sure the languages are what you want and just type your language – it will translate on the fly – no need to tap a translate button after a group of words.

39:51 App of the week InstaCart

InstaCart is a shopping app. Once you’ve installed it and created an account, complete with credit card info, it makes it VERY easy to shop items from a local store and get them delivered right to your door. The app makes it very easy, you can also use the website.

43:29 Review