SwiftKey’s latest keyboard may represent the future of smartphone typing.
Dubbed SwiftKey Neural, the app takes advantage of advances in machine learning and neural networks to create a keyboard that is better able to predict the next set of words a user intends to type. Neural does this by looking at the words you’ve already written to infer possible meaning — this is in contrast to the mainline release of SwiftKey which simply suggests words you’ve used a lot in the past.
So, let’s say you start typing “Let’s meet at the”, Neural will suggests words like “office” and “airport” because they fit the context of the sentence that’s currently written.
The current release of Neural is rough, and missing several features that make SwiftKey’s main release stand out, including the ability to sync multiple SwiftKey keyboards and the option to personalize the keyboard. Still, it’s impressive to see the keyboard provide sensible suggestions.
In April, SwiftKey used Greenhouse, the section of SwiftKey’s website devoted to the company’s off-beat experiments, to release Clarity, a keyboard that was built to correct multiple words at once. The keyboard is no longer available, but it seems likely SwiftKey took the lessons it learned with Clarity into account when it started building Neural.