Friday, August 3, 2012

Google Handwrite: A New Way for Web Search on Mobiles and Tablets

A new mobile browser beta feature that works with smartphones and tablets has just been recently rolled out by Google.

Called Handwrite, this new feature is said to enable mobile and tablet users to actually “write” their search query into the browser by using their pointer fingers, instead of typing on the keyboard when they’re on the go.

To enable the Handwrite feature, go to on your phone, then tap the Settings link at the bottom of the page or if you’re using a tablet, just click the gear icon in the upper right corner of your browser. Then, enable the new Handwrite setting.

Once the feature is enabled, according to Google, you can “Tap the Handwrite icon on the bottom right corner of your screen to activate the writing surface.”

Also, Google says that autocomplete works with Handwrite. So, after writing a few letters, you’ll be able to see autocomplete options, which are suggested search terms, that appear below the search box. To choose the option that you are looking for, just tap it to search.

Google also stated that users can also write anywhere on the screen; so there is no need for them to stay within the search box. The Handwrite feature also allows users to write multiple lines of text.

Currently, only the printing style of writing, not cursive, is what the Handwrite feature recognizes, though it also recognizes both lower and uppercase letters.

Also, Handwrite will only accept characters in the language based in your search language setting.

Handwrite is also said to work in both landscape and portrait view, with the landscape (horizontal) allowing more space for longer queries.

Google had advised, “For longer queries, you can continue writing and use the arrows next to the autocompletions to move the right one into the search box.”

According to an Official Google Blog post written by software engineer Rui Ueyama about the new setting, “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.”

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