Google launched Google Handwrite in July. It’s a feature that lets you search Google from your smartphone or tablet, by simply writing your query with your finger, rather than having to type it out with the keyboard or use voice search. I’ve always thought it was a cool feature, but outside of playing around with it when it launched, I can’t say I’ve ever found it particularly useful. Still, another option never hurt anybody, and it should at least please those who are concerned about the art of handwriting going by the wayside.
Google really hasn’t done much with Google Handwrite since launch (though it did release a similar offering for Google Translate before it even launched this).
Today, Google announced that it has improved the recognition quality for Google Handwrite, and added some features to make it easier and faster to handwrite your searches.
“You can now distinguish between ambiguous characters, overlap your characters, and write multiple characters at a time in Chinese,” says product manager Lawrence Chang.
“If you’ve tried Handwrite before, you may have had some trouble entering a lowercase ‘L’, the number ‘1’, or a capital ‘I’,” says Chang. “Now, we provide alternate interpretations of your characters that you can select above the space bar. Similarly, in Japanese the characters ‘イ’ and ‘ィ’ look nearly identical but are different characters and produce different search results. If Google interprets your handwriting one way and you meant the other, you can now more easily make a correction.”
Google has also now made it so you can write letters over top of one another, so you don’t have to try and squeeze them all in on a small screen, or input them one at a time. In Chinese, you can now write multiple characters at a time on a single line.
While these features make the feature better, for sure, I’m still not sure that is a great deal of advantage to using it over other search options. I have grown pretty fond of Voice Search though.