Even the most nimble-fingered of us can sometimes struggle to type accurately on our smartphone's touch-screen, so now Google has introduced a new feature it hopes will make it easier to search when on the go: handwriting recognition.
It may sound like a throwback to old PDA days, where users were frequently confounded by the near-impossible task of learning to write characters the mobile device could interpret while clutching a fiddly stylus. But Google hopes its system will be more intuitive and needs little more than the users' fingers.
Users will have to turn on the handwriting option by visiting Google's homepage and adjusting the settings, either via the tab near the bottom of the page or by the gears icon on some tablets.
They should then be able to simply write out the phrase they want to search on any where on the screen, and hey presto, Google will find it – at least that's what it claims.
“Write a few letters and you’ll see autocomplete options appear below the search box,” explained Rui Ueyama, a Google software engineer on a company blog.
“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 autocomplete options to move the right one into the search box.”
Google reckons that the system works best – surprise, surprise – on its own technology, so Android users running Chrome should find it most accurate. But it has also been designed to work on Apple's iOS5 and later devices.
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