Handwrite to Google Search on Your Tablet

— September 12, 2012

Google Software Engineer Rui Ueyama posted on the Google blogspot about a cool new search feature for your tablet and smartphone. Unlike when searching on a desktop or laptop computer, when you're searching on a touch-screen mobile device it’s often inconvenient to type.

google-screenshot.PNGSo, Google has provided a new way to interact with it: Handwrite for web search on tablets and mobile phones - no app needed. It’s especially useful on tablets with the larger screen size.

Ueyama explains, “Say you’re standing on a busy street corner, in a bumpy taxi ride, talking with a friend, or sitting on the couch with your tablet. 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.”

Enable Writing
To start, go to Google.com in your mobile browser, tap on “Settings” at the bottom of the page and enable “handwrite.” (Note that after you've saved the setting, you may need to refresh the homepage to see the feature.) Watch a video demo here.

Once the feature is enabled, tap the Handwrite icon on the bottom right corner of your screen to activate the writing surface. Write a few letters and you’ll see autocomplete options appear below the search box.

If one of the options is what you’re looking for, just tap it to search. For longer queries, you can continue writing and use the arrows next to the autocompletions to move the right one into the search box. Since you can write anywhere, you don’t have to look back and forth repeatedly from the keyboard to the search box.

“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. Handwrite is experimental, and works better in some browsers than others - on Android devices, it works best in Chrome. For now, we’ve enabled Handwrite for iOS5+ devices, Android 2.3+ phones and Android 4.0+ tablets in 27 languages,” says Ueyama.

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