Google launched Gboard, its keyboard app for iOS, on Thursday and it is currently sitting in the top spot in the App Store’s chart of free apps. Among other things, Gboard brings Google search into any app with the press of the “G” icon. This, of course, could also mean bringing Google search ads to any app.
For example, one can easily envision AdWords search ads extending into these results in the Twitter app for [restaurants near me]. However, a Google Spokesperson tells Search Engine Land, “We have no current plans around ads in Gboard”.
“Current plans” leaves a lot of ambiguity, of course. Currently this week? Currently this month or year? It’s nearly impossible to imagine a scenario in which Google would not be looking at this as an eventual ad vehicle. The big argument Google has faced in the age of mobile and the rise of native in-stream ads is that apps are where users spend their time, not browsers, leaving Google out in the cold. But Gboard brilliantly puts Google anywhere users are spending time on their phones — and yes, that includes Facebook.
Or imagine from within the Amazon app, quickly searching Google to see if you can find a better deal. That experience doesn’t quite payoff now because Gboard just brings up links to retail sites. But it might if product ads were enabled.
If Google can can build a critical user base for Gboard, it could have a dramatic impact on search behavior and give Google the monetization answer it’s been looking for on mobile. We’ll have to wait to see how long “current” lasts.