Google is secretly building an on-screen keyboard for iOS, according to The Verge.
The Mountain View company has incorporated its famous search engine into a “highly used” part of the new keyboard, The Verge writes, explaining that Google wants to boost the number of Google searches being made on Apple’s mobile devices.
The keyboard has been under development for several months, according to sources cited by The Verge. It reportedly has several features that differentiate it from Apple’s standard iOS keyboards.
Among the features are gesture-based typing, which is already seen on the Android keyboard and other third party keyboards like SwiftKey. Gesture-based keyboards allow users to slide their finger from one letter to the next before predicting the word the user wants to type.
The keyboard is also reported to have a Google logo that brings up traditional web search when tapped, as well as dedicated buttons for pictures and GIF searches.
It’s a well known fact that Google holds the monopoly on web search but its mobile search is proving less lucrative, according to The Verge. Indeed, The Guardian’s Charles Arthur highlighted last October that half of smartphone users perform zero searches per day, which is an issue for Google given search is where the company shows users its most expensive ads.
It’s unclear if Google plans to release the product.
Business Insider has contacted Google for comment and is waiting to hear back.