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Giphy Keys for iOS puts GIFs at your fingertips

Engadget Engadget 3/05/2016 Roberto Baldwin

© Provided by Engadget

After Apple allowed third-parties to create custom keyboards for iOS, a flood of apps tried to make typing easier or add a way to send GIFs with only a few taps. Now Giphy, already a popular destination for the internet's favorite image format, is jumping into the animated image sending fray on iOS with its Giphy Keys app. But, there's a twist.

As you'd expect, GIF's are a key feature in the app, but, in addition to the usual search and category tools, Giphy Keys has something that's actually useful: a regular keyboard you can use to write text. Usually, you have to switch back and forth between these third-party keyboards to type words with one and send images with another; it's a pain. Giphy Keys puts both features right there in the one app. This means you also won't have to keep tapping the globe button to the left of the spacebar to switch between keyboards (which, as most iPhone owners know, only works about half the time anyway).

In addition to allowing users to type and GIF from just one keyboard, the app has a trio of fun features behind an "8 ball" button. Sadly, instead of magic, the button uses the existing Giphy Tools to let you create animations with text patterns, blend random images with local weather info, or generate responses from a virtual 8 Ball that answers your questions (in GIF form, obviously).

The 8 Ball's question feature got boring pretty quickly, but putting a random GIF behind a city's weather information was fun. Some of the weird image choices can add a dose of surreal fun to messages and Slack updates. That is, if you have the patience to wait for these custom GIFs to be created, which took upwards of a minute or longer sometimes.

Keys probably won't completely replace your regular keyboard.

Another problem is that Giphy Keys doesn't support autocorrect. If you think your typing is bad with iOS "fixing" your mistakes, wait until you try to type without it. On more than one occasion what I thought I typed had nothing to do with what actually showed up in the text field. Giphy says that autocorrect is definitely something it's thinking about.

Yet, even without the ability to compensate for fat-finger jabs at the touchscreen keyboard, and painfully slow image generation at times, the keyboard's quick access to reaction GIFs and access to the extensive Giphy library of images were enough to make this my new go-to way to share GIFs via text. Giphy Keys is available now for iOS.


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