Google seems to be ending support for the SwiftKey virtual keyboard in its Gmail client. Some Gmail users say they have received an email from Google saying integration in the email app will end soon. Google will stop SwiftKey support on July 15, 2019.
Bleeding Computer reports the email explains the Microsoft-owned keyboard app is on a list of application that must “comply with our updated data policy requirements”.
Google has made changes to Gmail’s API to “make sure your data is protected and private”. SwiftKey seems to still be in violation of those new changes.
The keyboard works for Gmail on iOS and Android devices and is a hugely popular service that works across apps and services. In Gmail, one of SwiftKey’s core features is the ability to provide word suggestion. To ensure suggestions are more accurate, the app uses data from personal emails within Gmail.
It seems the keyboard is requesting too many permissions from Gmail, so Google has taken action. The company is cracking down on developers that Google believes are abusing these permissions. Recently, the company changes its user data policy, stating developers should:
“Only request access to the minimal, technically feasible scope of access that is necessary to implement existing features or services in your application, and limit access to the minimum amount of data needed.”
SwiftKey will still work as normal across other apps on Android and iOS. However, users will soon have the inconvenience of switching default keyboards when entering Gmail.
Google Search Improvement
Insterestingly, Microsoft has been working this year to make SwiftKey more integrated with Google services. In March, the app received an update that improved Google Search functionality within the keyboard.
Users can now make web searches while typing on any application. Naturally, Microsoft put its own Bing search engine front and center of the new experience. However, this year, Google Search access was made much easier.