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Google Keyboard on Android 7.1+ Already Supporting GIFs in Google’s Messenger App

Back on October 11, the Android team detailed a new feature for Android 7.1, known as “image keyboard support.” With this, app developers could build in code that lets an app relay the types of content they support to a utilized keyboard. With Android 7.1+ available for a few devices this week, we are now beginning to see this feature being used.

On my Nexus 6P running Android 7.1.1, I can open up Google’s Messenger app, then directly input GIF images right into a message thread from the Google Keyboard. For example, if a conversation calls for a mic drop, I can easily add in a “mic drop” GIF. From what I have seen, users can choose from a variety of GIFs in different categories, or even search for a specific emotion or action. 

Accessing this feature is very easy: Open up the keyboard within a supported app and text field, then hit the “smiley” button. From here, you will see a new option for “GIF.” Hit that, and all of the world’s GIFs will be at your fingertips.

While this is all great and groovy, no other app appears to be supported besides Messenger. That means no Gmail, Hangouts, or anything else, at least for the time being.

Here’s the exact description from when Google detailed what’s new in Android 7.1.

  • Image keyboard support — expands the types of content that users can enter from their keyboards, letting them express themselves through custom stickers, animated gifs, and more. Apps can tell the keyboard what types of content they accept, and keyboards can deliver all of the images and other content that they offer to the user. For broad compatibility, this API will also be available in the support library.

So, while this implementation is currently quite limited, do know that support should be coming to additional apps in the near future. And that, folks, is exciting. If you use or know of an app that can benefit from this, let the developer know.

If you are running the necessary build of Android, check it out.

Via: reddit
  • Patrick Mallon

    This seems very Appleish to me. “Today we are introducing an innovative feature!” (one that has been around for quite a while in most other places).

  • Howard Stern ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    been rolling with this on textra for….ever. glad google is catching up a bit though.

  • Jake

    classic texts to satan.

  • Littleboy

    WTF Google? First only G-keyboard for iPhone? Now an update to Google keyboard only Android 7.1+ ?

  • Celeras

    This was a pleasant surprise, looks to be a good selection too. Love this Pixel!

  • Kyle Brabender

    It works with Allo as well

    • Rovindra Singh

      No it does not work with Allo

      • Kyle Brabender

        I forgot im still on a dogfood version. So support is coming.

        • JRomeo

          on average, how much time, (delay) does a feature in Allo take to arrive to the regular version of the app?

          • Kyle Brabender

            Honestly, I am not sure since I have only been on the dogfood version of the app for allo/duo. I am currently on ver 2.0.000_RC16.

  • Tyler

    Hey that’s my reddit post!

  • xzombiex66

    Bet it still doesn’t have dedicated number Row. If it had that it would finally be my daily driver Keyboard, im not sure why they dont make it an option?

    • Bourne, Jason C.

      It has one but it’s not visible 24/7, it shows up based on the field you’re typing in.
      There’s also a method to make it show 24/7 (basically turns your keyboard into “PC” keyboard.

  • Boomdizzle

    Textra has an enormous GIF section also that everyone can use right now. As simple as adding a picture and sending it B-)

    • Bobb

      Textra is great

  • Talon for Twitter supports GIF from Google kbd; so does the messenger (unreleased) app from the same dev.

  • James Keleman

    Doesn’t this work in hangouts on the Pixels?

    • person


  • Ken Bosse

    How long before Hangouts never gets this?

    • Bourne, Jason C.


  • Gekko

    thanks for the tip on “search”. i thought i was limited to searching for and using only the the visible (scrolled) handful of gifs and was wondering how to add new ones. didn’t realize there was a whole bunch of hidden ones accessible via search. score another one for Timato!

  • hockeytownmatt

    Gboard on iPhone is great, I use it all the time. I sure hope the new Android keyboards start utilizing the same functionality.

    • Agreed. Wouldn’t it have been easier to update the Android Keyboard to be more like Gboard?

    • TheMan876

      Why doesn’t android just support the copy and paste of images yet? That’s the way iOS does it with it’s keyboards and it’s pretty darn useful

    • s0uth

      I wonder why iOS got it first. It’s awesome.

      • ChrisI

        THAT is thee question

    • Tony G.

      Have you ever used Swiftkey? And if so, how does Gboard compare?

      • hockeytownmatt

        I used Swiftkey exclusively for years before the Google keyboard got up to par. I haven’t used it for about a year now though? Gboard has a gif search built into the keyboard. Does Swiftkey have this now?

        • Tony G.

          No it doesn’t have gif. But I’ve been partial to Swiftkey because of its great prediction and memory. It’s the best I’ve found yet, but Gboard got my attention. I just got a 7 Plus.

          • hockeytownmatt

            Oh on iOS! I started to, but found the default iOS keyboard kept popping up. So I stopped using it. Gboard seems pretty stable. Not sure if that’s because of iOS improving or or Gboard.

          • Tony G.

            OK Matt. I might give Gboard a try but I like SwiftKey. To use other than iOS board, you can go into the settings and set your choice as default. Thanks for the reply.