updated 02:48 pm EDT, Thu July 26, 2012
Handwrite available for smartphone and tablet browsers
Google has announced a new feature, labeled "Handwrite," that enables users to enter search queries via handwritten terms. The option is limited to mobile browsers on devices such as tablets and smartphones, eliminating the need to use virtual keyboards or spoken queries.
"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," Google writes in a blog post. "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."
After activating the feature in the search settings menu, users will see a Handwrite icon on the bottom right corner of the screen. Tapping the button turns the entire screen into a writing surface, while autocomplete retains the same assistance function that it serves for typing entry.
Google notes that Handwrite works best with Chrome on Android devices, though it is enabled for other devices running iOS 5+, Android 2.3+ phones, and Android 4.0+ tablets.