Third-party keyboard app, SwiftKey, has announced a major update for its Android app, which adds neural network technology for better word predictions. The company claims that this makes it the first mobile keyboard to be powered by an AI. The new version of the app can be downloaded via the Play Store.
In its official blog, the company stated, “For the first time since we launched SwiftKey Keyboard six years ago, we’ve rebuilt SwiftKey’s language engine from the ground up using the power of neural network technology – the first instance of neural networks being used locally on a smartphone. This gives you more accurate and useful next-word predictions, saving you time and (hopefully) adding a little fun to your typing.”
SwiftKey claims that the keyboard will now be able to meaningfully capture relationships between words. The company gives the example an incomplete sentence, “lets meet at...” With the old ‘n-gram’ model, it would only look at the last two words when giving word predictions, which in this case would be words like moments, same, etc. The new technology takes into account the entire sentence, and hence users will see more relevant options like airport, office, etc. Further, the new technology can also understand that “let’s meet at the airport” has the same sentence structure as “let’s chat at the office.”
The improved keyboard will initially be available in US English and UK English languages, but the company has said that other languages will be added soon.