Gboard enhances your keyboard, but what about your privacy?

Gboard is a Google app for your iPhone that lets you search and send information, GIFs, emojis and more, right from your keyboard. You can search and send anything from Google, including news, articles, videos, images, etc.


Gboard privacy concerns

Given the features, you’re probably wondering if using this app can lead to the erosion of your privacy. Will all of the information you type through the keyboard be shared with Google? The company anticipated these concerns and addressed them at launch.

What Gboard sends to Google:

  • When you do a search, Gboard sends your query to Google’s web servers so Google can process your query and send you search results.
  • Gboard also sends anonymous statistics to Google to help diagnose problems when the app crashes and let Google know which features are used most often.

What Gboard doesn’t send to Google:

  • Everything else. Gboard will remember words you type to help you with spelling or to predict searches you might be interested in, but this data is stored only on your device. This data is not accessible to Google or to any apps other than Gboard.

Keep in mind that privacy policies can change, so Google might opt for more tracking in the future.

Users need to decide if the value they receive from Gboard warrants the risk they take by using the app, according to Michael Covington, VP of Product for Wandera. “Will the data be intercepted as it is transmitted between users’ devices and Google’s services? Are they certain that Google is storing the data in a secure manner on their servers? What is Google doing with the data that is sent and how long do they intend to keep it?”

Clearly, many questions remain. Unsurprisingly, security professionals don’t take promises at face value.

“The keyboard is one of the most sensitive parts when it comes to your privacy. You feed it with your ideas, appointments, chat messages, and all other sorts of private data. Google promises not to spy on you. Unfortunately, they continuously demonstrate that they don’t give a damn about privacy,” Matthias Pfau, CEO at Tutanota, told Help Net Security.

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