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Up until recently, the stock Google Android Keyboard app had an excellent alternatives pop-up. Long-press a word with an ellipses underneath it and you get a box with many variations. I used it typically to obtain a plural, past tense, or other variant without having to tediously type almost the entire word before word completion finally offers the choice.

In some recent update, however, those variations have disappeared and been replaced with vaguely related spellings, as shown in the attached screen shot (note the differences between the old one and the newer one).

I find this change almost useless for speed typing and now it takes a lot more effort to enter words. There is no setting to fix this that I can find.

Does anyone know why they changed this behavior, and is there any way to revert back to it other than to go back to some older version of Android or the keyboard app?

This is the old way:

Old pop-up alternatives example (Android 4.3)

This is the new way:

Current Pop-up alternatives example (Android 5.1.1)

  • Could you post the versions of both the above Google keyboard? I guess you are having this after the Lollipop update? – Lucky Aug 18 '15 at 17:01
  • The current (bad) device is running Lollipop 5.1.1. The Google Keyboard version is 4.1.22123.2053724. The old device that has the good keyboard is running Jellybean 4.3 and the Google Keyboard app is 3.1.19653.1284735 – Blisterpeanuts Aug 18 '15 at 19:30
  • Guess what? I tried uninstalling updates to Google Keyboard in the Lollipop device, and the feature returned! So apparently it broke some time between 4.021003 and 4.1.22123. I'm going to report this as a regression and see what they say. – Blisterpeanuts Aug 18 '15 at 19:45
  • Can you post that as an answer that downgrading the Google Keyboard solved your issue? – Lucky Aug 19 '15 at 6:23
  • I could, if I thought it was an answer that solved my issue :) I don't want to be stuck with an older version of the keyboard; I want the latest and greatest keyboard but with this feature. I may in fact restore the latest keyboard, because it's bad practice to downgrade to a potentially insecure or buggy version of an important system function. – Blisterpeanuts Aug 19 '15 at 15:57
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The workaround I found was to go to Settings->Apps->All->Google Keyboard and tap "Uninstall updates". This reverted the keyboard app to the initial version of 4.021003 that was installed to my Nexus 5 when it updated to Lollipop.

Apparently the feature I am describing was broken/changed some time between 4.021003 and 4.1.22123. I'm going to report this as a regression and see what they say.

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