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Stock Official Google Keyboard Arrives on Google Play

google keyboard

The stock Google Keyboard is now an official Android app that can be installed for free through Google Play. This is the same keyboard that was introduced with Jelly Bean (Android 4.2), that includes Gesture typing, a way to swipe from letter-to-letter to spell out words. It should also actively predict words on-screen as you gesture between letters, making this one of the smartest keyboards you’ll use. After spending tons of time with it on my Nexus 4 over the last few months, I can tell you that this new 4.2 keyboard has been one of my favorites to use. This is a great day for keyboard enthusiasts. 

So for those of you without a stock Android device (like the Galaxy S4 or HTC One), this is your chance to get in on the action. It also works great on tablets. Once you install and open for the first time, Google will walk you through a tutorial to enable it.

Play Link

Update:  The Android Google+ page has now announced the release of the Google Keyboard. We should point out that this is for Android 4.0+ devices.

Cheers Justin!

  • Spencer


    Is this new and improved Stock Android 4.2+ keyboard better than SwiftKey with Flow? I use SwiftKey on my DNA, but I have an N7 as well, but I don’t use the flow on the N7 much. Advice?

  • Damn Son

    Hmmm. Not a big deal, but for some reason the emoji’s aren’t appearing when I installed this keyboard. I went into add dictionary and installed the emoji one but still nothing. Any GS3 owners notice this as well?

  • Matt Upton

    This is going to soon be the norm for updates- no more OS updates, only individual stock apps.

    • Steve Benson

      We can only hope.

  • alexben

    Not available for Galaxy S duos, even when it has Android 4.0.4 !!

  • Artune

    Installed just fine of Nexus 10 and GNEX from Vzw.

    • KleenDroid


  • Andres V.

    google camera next?

    • shelderman

      actually thats already on play but I think it’s ported

    • Steve Benson

      Hopefully, among many other former system apps. This is the best case scenario for the Android eco system going forward. Separate as many apps from the OS as possible so that bug fixes and improvements aren’t reserved only for major OS upgrades.

      Yeah the camera sucks. But if they move it to the play store, then they can incrementally improve it through updates and not wait for a major OS upgrade.

      Same goes for the following:
      News & Weather
      – There are many other system apk’s that could be added to the list…

      This may seem silly but the more apps they move to the Play Store the better.

      How about SystemUI? How amazing would that be? Don’t like what HTC or Samsung put on your phone as a UI? Install Android’s default stock SystemUI, that would be amazing.

  • Vinod

    It didn’t work on my Nexus 4. It may be because of Google Hindi Input app (Devanagari font keyboard) which is already installed. It worked only when I uninstalled Hindi Input app.
    Any solution for this?

    • Sean Royce

      Worked fine on mine. It’s a Nexus device, made by google, it should work absolutely fine.

  • Wandile Tembe

    To Bad I can not download it because I’m from South Africa

  • Bryan

    I can’t install it on my razr maxx. I get an error code -24 when it tries to install. Anyone else? Any suggestions?

    • gp126904

      I downloaded it just fine on my Razr Maxx, dunno why it didnt work for you. I would try downloading it again.

      • Bryan

        I have tried several times and get the same error. It downloads and then when installing I get:
        Unknown error code during application install: “-24”
        I’m rooted and I disabled some of the stock moto inputs. So I am going through and re-enabling them, but so far no luck.

  • gary walker

    I am running 4.1.2 and when I download the app Playstore says that it already exists on phone but it is not listed as n option n the input setting?

  • Ian Smith

    sooo if i already am running CM 10.1 should i download this keyboard? not sure what the deal is here as play store says it isn’t installed on my device but i’ve been using the stock keyboard.

  • Steve Benson

    Every time I see Google release another former system app to the play store I smile inside because I know they’re one step closer to killing fragmentation. Let fragmentation die a thousand fiery deaths.

  • mikeszekely

    I know a lot of Android users like Swiftkey and Swype, but I for one am glad as heck that Google released the stock keyboard int he Play Store. I’ve had a Nexus 7 since launch, and my phone for the last year was a Galaxy Nexus. I recently switched to an HTC One, and the stock keyboard was one of the things I missed the most. Not that the HTC keyboard is bad, per se, but I’d gotten really used to the stock keyboard’s next whatever prediction figuring out all my punctuation for me.

  • Chris

    Nothing can beat Swift key….

  • Digirati Studios

    Between the new Gmail today and Google’s swiping keyboard, I am stoked. Like this keyboard better than Swype.

    • Chris

      I fell sorry for you if you get that excited over a smartphone keyboard…..

      • Digirati Studios

        Thanks for your concern Chris, cheers!

        • Steve Benson

          Exactly, thanks for being a dick Chris.

      • Guest

        I feel sorry for you that you would spend your time attacking someone for being happy, and that you managed to look foolish by misspelling such a simple word in the process.

        • Chris

          The only one whos foolish is one who can’t say anything with an actual account. You have to be a “guest”. Also looking foolish for crying over silly spelling errors on the internet.

          now run along kid. this is a grown up conversation.

  • Jeremy Whyte

    Once you go Swype you never go back.

  • Aaron

    I have a 4.2.2 ROM on my tablet, and I really didn’t like this keyboard. Missed long presses for numbers, symbols and punctuation, and really found its word predictions lacking. So I went back to trusty SwiftKey.

    • Larizard

      swiftkey flow lags like crazy on my AOKP Gnex….. i duno why.

    • Someguy

      Um, you can long press for numbers or punctuation…

  • BulletTooth_Tony

    I’m entirely way too excited for this. Still my favorite keyboard available.

  • Michael

    I wish they would incorporate the new emojis into this

  • Robert Boluyt


  • droidrazredge

    Finally! I get this keyboard functionality. While on ICS before Motorola updated the device to JB I use to have Motorola’s version of this. After the update they have JB version of swipe, which does not look or behave the same as the version that use to be in the ICS version. Even the color has changed from Blue(ICS) to Orange(JB). I’m glad to have that functionality back. This looks like the version that I use to have before the update.

  • Jon D

    u can change the layout and add numbers to the top like the note 2 keyboard advanced settings then custom input styles 🙂

    • Dan

      how exactly do you add the number row?

  • Jon D

    Im so happy… i don’t have to add all the swear words into my personal dic anymore!! option to uncheck block offensive words!!!!

  • Daniel McKenzie J.

    Also the autocorrect isn’t great. Go into the keyboard settings and change it to ‘Very Aggressive’ this fixes the issue!

  • Daniel McKenzie J.

    I assume this has been put on the Google Play Store so Google can update it without having to update the Android OS? I DO think the Keyboard needs a very big UI update tho. It’s chunky, takes up half the screen and no real HOLO design!! SwiftKey and Swype Keyboards visually look much better!

    • Chris

      They put it on there so those with out nexus devices can have it.

  • Dan

    1) Is it normal that I downloaded this even though i’m on a nexus device (Must be a side effect of being a crack flasher)
    2) How do I get rid of that annoying keyboard notification in the status bar.

    • brkshr

      1) This is actually an update to the AOSP keyboard on the Nexus.
      2) You can’t unless you are on a custom ROM with the option to do so.

    • Justin Winker

      What brkshr said – you can’t remove the notification in the notification bar since it’s perpetual. It should only show up when you are actively using the keyboard though. I thought this was wierd when I jumped up to a 4.0 ROM on my Bionic, but I’d gotten used to it.

      • Jon D

        you can remove it you need to be rooted and just freeze the stock keyboard app with titanium backup so you only have google voice typign and the new google keyboard and you wont get the notification

  • Bionicman

    i was using the samsung keyboard for a while and then switched to Swype that was preinstalled on my note2. it started to slow down after a while so ive been looking for a repacement. this google keyboard is great! has the best of swype and a nice feel to it. i like it!

  • Malcolm James II

    Pretty cool surprise for today!

  • Nice, it installs like an update on my Nexus 4 🙂

    • brkshr

      I’m guessing your not running a custom ROM on your N4?

      • You’re right, but who knows!? Probably the same thing happens on any ROM with Google Keyboard included as default…

        • brkshr

          Didn’t work like that on my N4 on CM10.1.

          • Interesting…

          • brkshr

            Now that I think about it, CM changed the keyboard a little bit. Maybe other ROMs that use the completely stock AOSP keyboard will update like this. I think a lot of ROMs use CMs though, because it adds long-press symbols to the keys.

          • I didn’t know that about CM keyboard… Anyway, it’s nice to see this move from Google, but I prefer a third party keyboard, like SwiftKey.

          • brkshr

            I’m definitely glad to see Google going this route. But this is where we part ways my friend… I prefer Swype 😛

          • Hehe, Swype is a great keyboard too… No discussion about it 🙂

  • brkshr

    I can finally gesture “sexy”! I’ll give it a shot now.

  • Mike

    This is a great idea! It is the best free keyboard I have ever used! Thanks Google!

  • Ayyy

    They need to release a stock android launcher on Google Play. It would be like running stock no matter what skin your device has…right?

    • Justin Winker

      Yes and no.. The launcher would be stock, but the Notifications, Settings, and any other manufacturer app would likely remain themed the same as the skin they have.

  • Josh Eck

    I really like what Google is doing with their built in apps. Their keyboard is hands down the best one I’ve used, including Swype, Swiftkey, Kii, etc. Enjoying it on my new white Nexus 4 that I won from, what website was that again? Oh yeah, this website! Thanks Droid Life! (I sound like a freaking infomercial…)

  • Damian

    Can’t wait to install this on my nexus 7!

  • Fozzybare

    hey look, the time is 4:30 again!

  • Capt. Crunch

    If only Apple allowed 3rd party keyboards, iOS users could replace their dated keyboards with a modern one.

    • KleenDroid

      Apple owners can’t install any app they want?

      That sucks.

      • Capt. Crunch

        I find it ironic when they brag about all the apps they have that android doesn’t.

    • ApplesNAndroids

      While true, the iOS keyboard is actually a very nice keyboard. Lacks features of those on android but it is very responsive and correct

  • Can’t download on Galaxy S4 🙁

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    My SWIFTKEY says…..meh………………though I will still download it.

    • Abhijeet Mishra

      My Swype says the same, but yeah, MUST DOWNLOAD IT, haha.

  • I wonder if at some point, they’ll pull all their apps from ROMs completely so it’s almost possible to get a Google experience on a skinned device, via Play.

    Also, by having all their apps only available via the Play store means that *if* manufacturers want to give users access to Google apps (and offer that as a selling point) then they’ll *have* to pass Google’s device qualifications to have access to the store. All of this leading to a potential better library of devices which are all up to specifications which Google has outlined.

    • gregmr

      It also allows Google to push out some new features in, let’s say the keyboard, that normally would be in a version update. Now, they can be rolled out while those skinned phones await OEM and carrier rollouts of updates.

    • meijin3

      As far as I know, all Google apps that make use of Google services can only be used on devices certified by Google (or flashed onto a rooted phone). The keyboard however is part of AOSP and can be used by anyone for any purposes regardless of certification by Google. It is nice to put it up on the Play Store for those who are stuck with a skinned device.

  • abhisahara

    Aaaand its country restricted 🙁

  • jh123416

    Woohoo! First time tipping DL! Glad to help!

  • JetBlue

    Should probably mention that it’s only for 4.0+

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      You’re right. But I doubt anyone reading this blog is on a device below 4.0…. if you are. STOP IT!

      • emoney

        sucks to be me

  • EC8CH

    So basically Google is doing what we all wish Manufactures would do.

    Take everything from your skin and release it as apps in the Play Store instead of putting everything into the OS.

    • j__h

      For Google it is a way to fight fragmentation.

      • EC8CH

        I don’t see a downside for us users, so I’m all for it.

        • michael arazan

          Also if they made there software into apps and it is so good they could sell it to other devices and make money off of it. Like if HTC sold Zoe, or Blinkfeed in the play store. Just brings additional profits for the company by making all the software add ons for their devices into apps and selling them to potential millions of other customer devices.

          • Nicholassss

            just think, when no one downloaded their apps or skins or keyboards, they’d know real quick what consumers did and didnt like.

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    • Butters619

      I don’t think anybody wishes HTC would release their keyboard to the play store. 😛

      • EC8CH

        Back in the day there used to be tons of themed HTC keyboards that people would use. Probably not so much now a days.

        • Butters619

          I was mostly referring to how unacceptably bad the stock HTC keyboard has been since ICS. It is horrendous.

          • Justin Winker

            I don’t think it’s so bad. I’ll be using the Stock keyboard from here out for sure, but I didn’t hate it, just wasn’t used to the layout.

            I actually dislike the Stock keyboard on my Nexus 10 – I hate that I can’t long-press to get numbers instead of having to use the Symbols page. That bugs the sh*t out of me.

          • Butters619

            I really didn’t like the layout. The animations felt delayed and laggy. And the long press took forever. There wasn’t much good about it in my eyes.

            Swiftkey long press for symbols/numbers is definitely the best but there are a few things that drive me crazy about it.

          • pko66

            I actually like the “sense” keyboard in my HTC One S, among other things, it is not as agressive in “prediction” as others and also it has arrows to move the cursor

        • KidFlash1904

          I remember! I used to rock it back on the OG Droid 🙂

        • George264

          Oh my god, I used to love it, the light gray and dark gray used to the best. I wish HTC would release their widgets to be honest

        • Stephen

          those were so much fun. there was literally a site to theme the apk and then have it sent to your phone. that was so cool.

    • Drome

      this is also their way of moving more of the feature of android into closed source apps. if some one forks Android and loses app compatibility, they lose all the features along with it. I would expect more and more of the new features in android to not be in AOSP source code

      • Justin Winker

        Most of the apps in Stock android aren’t AOSP though – there was a separate GApps package that has to be installed. I believe this keyboard will remain as AOSP, but I’m not quite sure.

        • myepicyear

          The best features of the keyboard (swiping, etc..) have never been open-sourced actually. A true, “vanilla” build of the Android Open Source Project is
          includes a basic, stripped-down version of the keyboard. The rest of the keyboard libs have always been proprietary, and are always added with a Gapps package.
          That’s the way it was meant to be.
          As long as you own a device that came with Google Play installed, you’ll always have the option to get these things, no matter what. If rooting is your thing, you can flash them–legally; if stock is your thing, you can now download them direct from the Play Store, no matter who manufactured your phone.
          Really, if you’re a non-developer, I wouldn’t even waste my time worrying about AOSP vs. Android. Google is setting things up in a way where the user will reap the benefits either way.

          • Justin Winker

            Agreed. I like where this is going – I’m thinking one day I’ll be able to say Monday’s a Vanilla day, Tuesday’s a Sense day, etc. I think the other manufacturers need to hop on board this – just release all of the apps and such in the Play store as a Launcher/package and pre-install it. Then consumers can do with it what they please.

    • Jon D

      apk (apps) are all of what makes android… they are just making it so people can choose to run stock (aosp) apps on skinned versions of android woot… which would be nice if Samsung would do the same and let us run their apps on stock android like when the nexus experience version of the s4 comes out…. id run their camera and IR apps 🙂

    • Chris

      root or buy a nexus…

      • EC8CH

        Done and done.

        Then done and done again.

  • so Awesome and about time. Even tho I really love my Swiftkey Flow, I really like the stock JellyBean keyboard a lot as well. Hard to choose!

  • Butters619

    I wish they would take the Google Keyboard and add in Switkey’s spell correct/word algorithms. That would be my perfect keyboard.

    • ITGuy11

      I agree, once you use Swiftkey you can never go back.

      • Butters619

        Their spell correct and word prediction is phenomenal! And the ability to change the long press setting is great (175ms btw). But there are two things that drive me crazy. And really only one that makes it so I went back to the stock keyboard. The “.com” button. They really need to offer an option to get rid of it. With a unified URL/Search bar the need for a “.com” button becomes minimal. And honestly I can’t remember the last time I actually typed a full website in. It’s so frustrating when you go to search “Moto xphone rumors” and it comes out as “Moto.comxphone.comrumors”

        • Tyler Bibeault

          Interesting enough… From what I can tell this version of Google keyboard allows you to adjust the long press delay.

          • Butters619

            I wonder if that was in the apk I have been using from XDA and I just didn’t take the time to go look.

            Now Google just needs to buy Switkey’s spell correct :p

          • Tyler Bibeault

            Well, I am using the Cyanogenmod built keyboard and it doesn’t have the feature so either it’s something they added in this or I just completely missed the option in stock android 4.2.

          • Butters619

            Pretty sure CM10 uses the stock 4.2 keyboard that was leaked back in November, which is the same keyboard I was using.

          • Kie

            This play store version has added custom key long press delay times as a new feature compared to previous AOSP versions

      • nsnsmj

        I disagree. I love Swiftkey, but my usage of it has gone down significantly since using the 4.2 keyboard. Google’s gesture typing being the main reason, as I find it much faster, smoother, and more accurate than Swiftkey Flow. It just feels better. Google’s also greatly improved their own prediction and correction stuff, though Swiftkey still ultimately wins on that front.

        • Drome

          i second this. the gesture typing of android dominates swiftkey flow. if you gesture type android is the best. if you peck type swiftkey is great but i still prefer stock android keyboard.

      • Bionicman

        i tried Swiftkey after hearing so many great things about it. I thought it felt a little slow. maybe i didnt play with the settings enough. oh well im digging this google keyboard.

      • BulletTooth_Tony

        I went back. No letters on the numberpad for PINs, no go. A “.com” button while in the browser? No go.com. It’s good, but those 2 negatives can not be ignored, and a deal breaker for some.

  • dtraini30

    Good. Now just release all the other stock apps, please 🙂

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Like what? And please don’t say the camera….

      • EC8CH

        This got me thinking,

        I wonder if Google is planning on ditching the Gallery App and pushing photos into Google+ somehow.

        Seems like the gallery app has been left hanging without any improvements for a while.

        • Larizard

          last update was with ICS, along with the new Camera app.

          • EC8CH

            it just seems out of place with the rest of the more recently updated gapps.

      • Sam

        Stock messaging and the phone app (dialer).

        • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

          I’ll take the stock messaging app… but I think the Phone Dialer is a bit far fetched. Don’t think they’ll go that far it’s not really something people care about

        • zurginator

          I think they should roll the messaging in with Hangouts.

      • dtraini30

        Why not? You don’t HAVE to use it. Also what if you are on 4.2.2 like the Galaxy S4 but still don’t have Photosphere, maybe if Google released the Stock Camera app you could still use it!

        • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

          I think there’s universal agreement that the Stock Camera SUCKS!

          • dtraini30

            Right. Didn’t know you are the one with the universal opinion.

          • gregmr

            The camera interface is fantastic, but the processing the background is abysmal