Google release stock Android keyboard as standalone app in Play Store

It seems that Google has started to take the Nexus experience and provide bits and pieces of it to users on non-Nexus Android devices. To begin with, Google has released its Google Keyboard app for phones and tablets running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and above. The app on the Google Play Store is now available for English speaking countries while Google says that more locales will be added soon.

The application gives you the stock Android keyboard that comes with Nexus devices. Much like how keyboard applications like Swiftkey and Swype work, you can download the Google keyboard application from the Play Store in order to replace the existing keyboard on your Android device. It is however important to note that while these popular keyboards are paid, Google has launched the Google keyboard free of cost.

The stock keyboard was updated during the launch of Jelly Bean and comes with features such as Gesture typing and next-word prediction. With gesture typing you basically glide through letters without lifting your finger and when done you can lift your finger to finish a word. You can also tap the microphone on the keyboard to compose messages with voice typing.

The keyboard comes with support for 26 languages. One major missing point that most users claim is the absence of emoticons, something that OEMs like Samsung, LG and HTC add to their keyboards.

For Nexus enthusiasts the stock keyboard coming to the Play Store is certainly positive news. Third-party applications that claim to give a Nexus keyboard experience are available on the Play Store, but there's nothing like the real thing. With the official Google keyboard now available for download, all these have surely become obsolete.

The keyboard is presently not available in India for download. But staying in line with Google's promises, we expect a roll out soon.