New York: In an effort to more deeply integrate Google’s search engine on iOS devices, the technology giant on Tuesday announced that its Search app for iOS has added an iMessage extension.
This update will allow iPhone and iPad users to search the web, and then quickly add those search results to their iMessage conversations.
According to TechCrunch, the extension is inspired by Google’s experiments with Gboard, Google’s own third-party keyboard app for iOS devices, and comes at a time when the popularity of alternative iOS keyboards seems to be declining.
With Google’s iMessage extension, users can type a query in the search box, or tap a button below for a specific type of search – like Weather, Food, Nearby (venues/businesses), Trending (news), or Videos; all extremely similar to Gboard.
Further, each search result includes a “Share” button that, when tapped, adds the item directly into an iMessage conversation as a card.
When the recipient taps on the card, they’ll go to the Google search result.
In addition, Google’s iMessage app offers a GIF search engine.
This is available by tapping on the “GIF” button to the right of the search box, which will immediately load a selection of GIFs from sites like Giphy and Tenor, which you can then filter further by performing a search.
The upgrade gives Google another way to reach users on iOS, even when they’re not in Google’s app itself.
This is important because Google’s traffic acquisition costs have been climbing due to the shift to mobile devices, where apps and assistants like Apple’s Siri serve up many of the answers users once turned to Google for, when on desktop.
The company also has to pay Apple billions to be the default search engine on iOS.
The iMessage extension is currently only available in U.S.