Back in July 2011, Google added a cool new way to search on mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad called Handwrite.
As the name suggests, it allows you to do a web search by just writing letters with your finger anywhere on your iOS device’s screen.
Google has released an improved version of the feature, which should make it a lot easier and faster to handwrite the searches on Google. The new features include the ability to overlap over characters, distinguish between ambiguous characters and write multiple characters at a time in Chinese.
Distinguish Ambiguous Characters
If you’ve used the feature, you may have been frustrated writing a lowercase “L”, the number “1”, or a capital “I”. You will now get an alternative interpretation of the characters, which you can select above the space bar, which should make it easier to make a correction.
You can now write letters on top of one another. This should make it a lot more easier to use the feature on mobile devices like the iPhone with a smaller screen.
Multiple characters at a time in Chinese
Users can now write multiple Chinese characters at a time and no longer restricted to just one character, which should make it much faster and easier to write your search keyword/s for Chinese users.
How to use the feature:
Go to Google.com on your iPhone’s Safari browser, tap on “Settings” link at the bottom of the screen, then tap on the Enable toggle for the “Handwrite” feature and tap on the Save button.
Go to Google.com on your iPad’s Safari browser, tap on the gear icon at the top right corner, followed by Search Settings, then tap on the Enable toggle for the “Handwrite” feature and finally tap on the Save button.
Once the feature is enabled, tap on the Handwrite icon on the bottom right corner of the screen to activate the writing surface.
You will now be able to write anywhere on the screen. Write a few letters and you’ll see autocomplete options appear below the search box. If one of the options is what you’re looking for, just tap it to search.
The Handwrite feature is quite impressive. While we don’t see it replacing the virtual keyboard, we can think of few occasions when it can come in handy. We would like to see Google add the Handwrite feature to the Google Search app (iTunes link).
Point your iPhone or iPad’s Safari browser to Google.com, enable and test the Handwrite feature and let us know what you think in the comments.