Last week, Google released GBoard, a keyboard for iOS that lets you easily search, add emojis, attach animated GIFs, glide type and more. The keyboard works in any app: Notes, Messages, Mail, etc. The app has been well received by iOS users and is super easy to configure.

Here’s the setup process:

1: Go to the App Store and download the app


2: Launch the app and follow the onscreen prompts to enable the keyboard in Settings



The app is surprisingly efficient and in many cases, eliminates the need for multitasking. For instance, there is no need to exit Messages and launch Safari to grab images or animated GIFs from the web. Google search is fully integrated. This is not only efficient, but for me it’s a luxury.

A couple of quick thoughts:

1: On the surface, GBoard makes it easy to text silly animated GIFs, which people seem to really enjoy, myself included. However, it’s also an opportunity for Google to repurpose its ecosystem / search appliance into another medium and on another platform. And even though Google does not collect any meaningful user data (see privacy notes), GBoard is still a clever strategy.

2: I am intrigued with the idea of adding business and services or a search appliance to a more intimate application like a messaging app. Messaging apps (Facebook Messenger, iMessage, What’s App, We Chat) are becoming more popular than social media platforms. It would appear to be a natural move for Facebook or Google to explore this space. However, people spend a tremendous amount of time in messaging apps – typically engaging in private information, whether it be with friends, family or loved ones. Do people want business and services in their most private digital spaces? David Marcus, Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook believes so.

Facebook recently announced the launch of its Messenger platform at F8, the company’s annual developer conference. The platform will allow developers to build bots and brands to interact with its customers. Marcus, who spearheads the platform, demonstrated how a user could even purchase a pair of sneakers directly in Messenger.

This of course, has me contemplating real estate. Bots are picking up steam in the industry. In fact, it’s a topic worth exploring in greater detail for another post. Would it be possible to integrate property search, alerts or transactional items into Facebook Messenger or another messaging app? Would consumers embrace the technology? I’m sort of fascinated by this trend and will be monitoring these patterns closely.