Google Search Gets Better Handwriting Recognition

Google is making it easier to search on phones and tablets

Google is rolling out an improved handwriting recognition feature for mobile search that is better at figuring out what you're trying to write and enables you to write more and faster. Google Handwrite makes it possible to "write" search queries on the Google Search mobile website rather than typing it on the on-screen keyboard.

The method is faster in many cases and it also makes it a lot easier to write in languages that don't use the Latin alphabet. To enable the feature, visit Google Search on your smartphone or tablet, touch the Settings link and enable Handwrite.

The feature was only introduced last summer, but it's now getting a sizeable upgrade. For one, the feature now provides suggestions which make it easier to pick between very similar characters.

"If you’ve tried Handwrite before, you may have had some trouble entering a lowercase 'L', the number '1', or a capital 'I'. Now, we provide alternate interpretations of your characters that you can select above the space bar," Google explained.

Also new is the ability to write letters on top of one another. Previously, if you wanted to write an entire word you had to cram it inside the screen's length. Now, you can simply write all the letters in the same spot, it will look like a garbled mess to you, but Google will figure it out.

Last but not least, you can now write more than one Chinese character at a time. Previously, you had to write the character, wait for it to be recognized and then go the next one.

"Say you’re in the grocery store and you want to look up a recipe for quiche on your phone. When you write the letters 'q', 'u', 'i', 'c', 'h', and 'e', it’s okay if they overlap and are garbled a bit," it said.

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