Gboard has a built-in search functionality, but you might have forgotten about it. Don't worry though, as Google is currently testing a way to make you use that search more by transforming the G logo when it finds content that's relevant to what you're typing.
The tests had started a long time ago — our first tip about this goes as far back as July 18, about two months ago. But at the time, we couldn't replicate it and didn't have enough information to know what was happening. Now though, we've received more confirmations about it and it seems the feature has started rolling to a few more devices. Better yet, Gboard has begun showing both a tooltip to point you toward the option and a new card that explains what the feature is.
So what is this smarter search? When you're typing and Gboard recognizes something it can help you with, the Google logo in the predictive bar will transform to a smiley face, a GIF icon, a search icon, or more (we've seen many designs), to indicate that it has some relevant content for you. In the screenshots below, it turned to a smiley face — likely because it was the feature's first appearance. When tapped, it opened stickers related to "works for me."
The G logo may also become a search icon when typing names of known celebrities, as in the example with Emily Ratajkowski below. Tapping it does a regular search and provides you with shareable info cards.
In other instances, you may get a GIF icon if you type something that can trigger that, like "heart gif," "dog," or even "heart" by itself.
Previous iterations of the design had a colorful Google logo in a circle and worked the same way.
Functionally, there's nothing new here. You've always been able to use Google search to find information, stickers, GIFs, and more in Gboard. But the point here is that you don't need to start searching first. You type your words as usual in the conversation and the keyboard tells you there might be something more interesting you can share.
The smarter search feature is still a server-side test, so odds are you may not see it despite running the latest beta version available.