I just deleted the Giphy app from my iPhone. This is notable because I adore GIFs. I find a deep, slightly perverse, pleasure in sending texts full of those little moving pictures to my loved ones, and the Giphy app streamlined my image-hunting process 10-fold. But now, it's gone from my home screen, deleted forever because I found something that makes texting with GIFs even easier. I found Gboard.
Let's not get melodramatic here: Gboard is simply Google's new iOS keyboard. It's not an app that will change your life or make your surly traditionalist uncle see the true value of technology, but it's a welcome addition to my own texting routine. Gboard features Google search right in the keyboard, plus the ability to hunt for emoji by name. There's also the Glide Typing swipeable keyboard and, of course, GIF search.
The embedded Google search function is ridiculously handy. It brings browser searching straight to the keyboard, eliminating the process of closing the texting app, opening a browser, copying a link, closing the browser and finally pasting the information into a message. Instead, tap the G icon in the upper left corner of the keyboard and search right there for anything on the web, including weather reports, addresses, flight information and nearby cat cafes (hey, we said anything). Search results pop up in a single row of clickable cards; tap one, and its headline and URL automatically populate in your message. If you want to add it, just tap the card, tap the message field, hit "paste" and voila!
Once you've searched for something, you're able to toggle among web, image and GIF results via three icons under the row of cards. To add an image or GIF, tap the card you want and it's automatically ready to be pasted, either as a boring static picture or a gloriously mobile, extra-short narrative experience. (Have I mentioned how much I love GIFs?)
But that's not the only way Gboard can add GIFs to texts. A small smiley face to the left of the spacebar brings up the standard iOS selection of emojis, plus the option to toggle to GIF search. Hit the "GIF" icon under those yellow smiley faces and search for whatever moving picture you'd like, or browse suggested searches such as "high-five," "thumbs up," "shrug" and "mic drop."