There really isn’t anything wrong with Apple’s touchscreen keyboard for iOS devices. However, it lacked the functionality and features that came in with third-party keyboard apps that were already thriving on Android. Fortunately, Apple opened it up for third-party keyboard applications such as Swype and Swiftkey, thereby adding flavour to the one-look, two-trick stock iOS keyboard. Now, it seems like Google has joined the foray and is now developing a third-party keyboard app for iOS devices that puts its legacy and reputation as a search engine at work.

Google’s purported app for iOS devices integrates a wide variety of features that set it apart from the stock iOS keyboard. Similar to the Android keyboard, the one Google is developing for iOS devices is reported to feature gesture-based typing. This means that users can type easily on a smaller screen as it intelligently determines the characters you swipe on.

It will also feature Google’s logo that gives you access to web searching features. It also seems to have a specific function that would let you search for pictures and GIF, both of which could also be powered by the company’s image search feature.

According to reports, the Google keyboard for iOS has been circulated among the company’s employees for months now. It’s designed to bolster the number of searches on the company’s platform for iOS devices. The competition in search engine services has been on the rise. Google pretty much holds the lion’s share of the market, but Bing and Yahoo! search has been in increasing in ranks as of late.

Just recently, it was revealed that Google paid a whopping sum of AU$1.33 billion (US$1 billion) to Apple in order to secure itself as the default search engine on iOS devices. There’s no official announcement when Google will launch the new app, but it would easily boost the company’s rank in the search engine market that it already dominates.