Google has just announced a new way to use its web search products on phones and tablets. Google Handwrite, available today from the Google Search settings menu, allows you to write out words with your fingers -- or a stylus, if you own one -- directly onto the page. Google then turns your scrawlings into text, and you can press the search button to complete your search. Google Handwrite seems to be a logical evolution of the Gesture Search app of old, only this one's much faster, and built on the web, rather than an app on a phone. We haven't tried it on a device with a stylus yet, but if you're rocking a Galaxy Note, this is something you'll want to enable right away.

Handwrite is currently accessible on Android 2.3+ phones, Android 4.0+ tablets and iOS5 devices, so to give it a try, head to the Settings menu on on your device. When you're done, be sure to let us know what you think in the comments.

Source: Google Blog


Reader comments

Google Handwrite announced for phones and tablets, write out your Google searches


This just in: Apple has sued Google for the use of written word. They seek to stop all sales of phones, tablets, and the use of Apple has filed a $100 trillion lawsuit.

Say what?

Barely works at all.

You simply can't scrawl anything but the shortest possible search terms. I defy you to get even one 8 letter work properly interpreted.

Pretty much unusable in the real world.

It's good to see that all that anonymous info I allowed the Gesture Search app to send to the Google mothership is being put to use. I bet this will be a system wide setting before the year is out. I love Google!

It lags but it's pretty slick. It even works when writing in cursive most of the time. I don't know if it's any faster than a keyboard but it's cool none the less.

There are still people - let alone tech geeks - who can actually do handwriting? :p

I'll give it a try, but I strongly suspect my writing will be faster even on a slow virtual touch keyboard, than reattempting that ancient art of handwriting I learned in school a few decades ago.

After five trys of "pizza" and it NOT recognizing the word, I gave up and disabled the feature.

Writing on a phone?

Why not just talk to it?

Lol...maybe next google can implement morse code search, or maybe hieroglyph search...


My success rate with just pressing the Mic button and speaking in a search term is pretty close to 100%. Including whole sentences like "what is the capital of Tajikistan".

This feature is unusable without a stylus, and more trouble than its worth.

because if you're using your phone/tablet to search for NSFW stuff while in the office,
it's a little awkward to speak the search terms.... writing it is more discreet.

Yeah... disabled. Maybe my Nexus S is too slow with Chrome or something but it doesn't seem to like me. I just tried typing "test" onto the page. It drew a line down, then zoomed in to the page, then for some reason actually put 'ist' into the search box.

BUT, like all other things Google, this is only proof of concept for something much bigger that they are developing and it will make sense to us in the future.

Tried it on my Galaxy Nexus and my Transformer Prime. Works fine in both, but my finger on the screen doesn't write very well, so it mis-interpreted several of my letters. Not sure how useful it is. Also, I rarely visit the google page in a browser on my devices, I generally use the search app.

HTC Evo 4g - lags way too much to use
Nook Tablet - works great

I would much rather use an input method already on my devices. Between virtual keyboards and handwriting that I already have, I don't see how this would be at all useful for me.

Didn't work well on my Evo LTE at all. Lagged too much to write out words. Its not as smooth as the video shows. Probably needs some updates.

Eh... on a Verizon Galaxy S. Inaccurate predictive text and very slow line rendering for accuracy. Will try this on my Nook Color to see if it's any better. Nice idea though. That's what makes technology great... trying to make things better. I still use Voice inputs a lot.

The Google blog post says, "we strive to give you a variety of ways to interact with Google, be it by speaking your queries, getting results before you finish typing, or searching by image. Now there’s a new way for you to interact with Google...

I'm all for options, and I can think of situations when this would come in handy like when riding is a car or bus. While I don't know if I'll use this much, it's nice to know it's available. Very smooth and easy on EVO 4G LTE & Nexus 7. For longer words or phrases I used landscape.

I'm using both Samsung Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Epic 4G with Gingerbread and can't seem to get this to work. What is everyone doing to use this? I used the browser to get to Google Com and the search and also the Search Gadget. Neither seem to give a hint of even working. What am I missing?

You have to go to, and down at the bottom of the page go into the Settings, enable the handwrite search, and save. I had to quit the browser and go back in again to get it working.

Works fine on my GNex. I'll try it on my Nexus 7 (which arrived while I was at work yesterday!) when I get home. I scrawled big giant letters all over the screen, and it recognized "Shatner" on the first try.

Can someone please let me know exactly how to enable this. I have opened the 'Search' settings and cannot see anything to do with handwriting. Thanks

Is your browser set for mobile? I had mine set as a desktop so couldn't see it a first. Should be at the very bottom.

Bad lag on the Optimus V. I like the concept, but I'm basically already entering search terms this way with Swype.

the flex T9, now Swype keyboard has handwriting input. It sucks and I never use it but I can never use it anywhere instead of never using it for just search.