It’s the small things that matter. Or perhaps the small things are actually really big things. Such thoughts come to mind after Google quietly added the bitcoin currency symbol (₿) to the Google Gboard keyboard available for Apple’s iOS devices.
As any ad agency will tell you, getting into the head of consumers is difficult but essential, and there is no better way of doing that than getting your brand on to people’s smartphones.
That’s why it matters when Google adopts bitcoin, albeit outwardly only at the level of the smartphone keyboard. Given that we spend a huge part of our lives on our mobile computers (OK call them phones if you want), it’s a big deal when bitcoin appears in such an in-your-face location as the keyboard potentially at the centre of our lives.
Google readying for crypto big reveal
Inwardly of course things are different – Google’s crypto adoption doesn’t start and end with keyboards.
It emerged in March last year that Goggle is working on its own blockchain tech, according to a Bloomberg report citing unnamed individuals. The story said Google was looking to bring blockchain to its cloud services so that customers could use the tech to verify their interactions on the platform.
A Google spokesperson at the time, although not commenting on specifics, confirmed that they were indeed working on something. Here’s the quote from the Bloomberg report:
“Like many new technologies, we have individuals in various teams exploring potential uses of blockchain but it’s way too early for us to speculate about any possible uses or plans,” a Google spokesman said.
It’s almost a year since that statement and that’s a very long time in crypto, so don’t be too surprised if Google does a reveal with seismic implications. After all, Facebook is going crypto with Whatsapp and its India payments rollout and of course JPMorgan has just done its very own coin thing.
With the smart money starting to come in from institutions, if recent pension fund activity and a client note yesterday from pension consultancy Cambridge Associates is anything to go by, it’s not too much of a stretch to expect big tech to start making their moves too.
So if this apparently little thing – the ₿ symbol on the Gboard key could actually be a huge signal of much bigger things in the works. And if bitcoin has found its way onto Gboard for iOS we can . safely presume the key is coming to Android or is already there somewhere (sorry I live in an Apple world so let me know in the comments below).
Getting Gboard’s bitcoin (₿) symbol
It was way back in 2014, with the release of iOS 8, when Apple punched a small hole in its walled garden by allowing iPhone users to install third-party keyboards. Apple was pushed into unlocking its previously locked-down keyboard by the success of keyboard apps such as Swype and SwiftKey on the Android platform, with its customers demanding a piece of the action.
These days Apple pays more attention to the keyboard and as we know is big on emojis. We can now all merrily sprinkle our text messages with the emotions that words alone cannot, apparently, adequately evoke or more truthfully to communicate a thought more quickly than by typing a bunch of words.
So, if you have an iOS running version iOS 8 or later, which pretty much everyone in the world with an iOS device will, then you can load up Google’s – Gboard keyboard for iOS.
Head over to the Apple app store and download and install the Gboard app. On your iPhone or iPad, go to settings > general > keyboard > keyboards > add new keyboard, select Gboard from the list of your third-party keyboards.
Open up an app that requires keyboard usage.
Now when you go to use your keyboard, press and hold the globe icon bottom left. You will see listed the third-party keyboards you have just installed as well as an option to open keyboard settings. Select Gboard.
When you long press on the currency key that comes along with whatever country/language version of iOS you are running – in my case it’s a pound sign – the available alternative currency key options become available. Over on the far left you should see the Bitcoin symbol. I’ve got single-handed mode on, which is why the keyboard looks a little squarish
Thanks to u/cs_moderator on the bitcoin sub for bringing the Gboard crypto to the attention of the community.
Bitcoin is currently targeting $4,000 as a bullish run takes hold, although the bear market isn’t over just yet.
The positive turn in sentiment follows the JPM Coin launch news (despite the doubts about its true crypto credentials), soothing words from US regulators and continued robust bitcoin fundamentals improvement as witnessed in the growth of the Lightning Network.
Daily trading volume in the crypto market has touched a 10-month high of $35.9 billion, according to data on coinmarketcap.
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