Monday, November 5, 2012

Google Handwrite Lets You Scribble Searches With Your Finger

Cover Letter by Resume Service Plus
Cover Letter, a photo by Resume Service Plus on Flickr.

Need to Google something on the go, but find your mobile keyboard too inconvenient? Don't fret.

Google on Thursday introduced a nifty new beta feature to its mobile search page called "Handwrite" that lets you write down search queries with your finger. The feature is available in 27 languages and works on Apple devices running iOS 5 and above, phones running Android 2.3 Gingerbread and higher, and tablets running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and higher.

"Handwrite enables you to search by just writing letters with your finger most anywhere on your device's screen -- there's no keyboard that covers half of the screen and no need for hunt-and-peck typing," Google software engineer Rui Ueyama wrote in a blog post Thursday.

Interested? Here's how to get it -- head over to with your mobile browser, click on "settings" at the bottom of the screen, then enable Handwrite. After you have saved the setting, you might need to refresh the page to see the feature. Note: on tablets, the search settings menu can be found behind the small gear icon.

Once the feature is enabled, simply click the cursive "g" Handwrite icon located on the lower right-hand side of the screen to activate the writing surface. Then, you can write your search on the screen.

After you write a few letters with your finger, you'll start to see autocomplete options pop up. If you run out room while scribbling out a longer query, just wait a second and Google will clear the screen and let you continue writing.

"We designed Handwrite to complement rather than replace typing: with the feature enabled, you can still use the keyboard at any time by tapping on the search box," Ueyama wrote.

Because the feature is experimental, Google warned that it will work better in some browsers than others. For Android devices it works best in Chrome.

Also, Handwrite only recognizes "legible" characters, so those with chicken scratch might not get the best results. The search giant recommends writing search queries in straight block letters.

Google has posted a Help Center article with more tips and tricks on how to use Handwrite. For a preview of Handwrite, check out the video below.

Angela Moscaritolo

Source Citation (MLA 7th Edition)
"Google Handwrite Lets You Scribble Searches With Your Finger." PC Magazine Online 26 July 2012. Educators Reference Complete. Web. 5 Nov. 2012.
Document URL

Gale Document Number: GALE|A297777340

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