back to article Google adds handwriting to mobile search site

Fondleslab not getting enough love? Google has unveiled a new way to tickle your favorite shiny object, in the form of handwriting recognition for its search homepage. With the new Handwrite feature enabled, punters who visit with their mobiles can draw with their fingers anywhere on their device screens and have …


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  1. Wile E. Veteran
    Black Helicopters

    How long?

    How long will it be before Google adds handwriting analysis to their "targeted advertising" profile generators?

    Oh, Mr. Smith. I see you are an introvert. May I suggest these celf-help courses to help you overcome your social anxiety? The shakiness of your writing indicates you have trouble communicating even to a computer.

    Yadda, yadda, yadda.

    Time to head for the Montana bunker.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How long?

      Opens the way for tongue writing.... Coool

      1. LinkOfHyrule

        Re: How long?

        What I really could do with is arse-cheek recognition. I know it's a bit niche but in my line of work it would be a godsend!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People still write?

    I'm bemused as to why anyone would want to, though admittedly my truly dreadful handwriting makes me a little biased (I can only barely read it myself so a machine has no chance), but I can't imagine anyone actually choosing to write on a fondleslab screen when typing is an option. Input by handwriting on the Palm was only worthwhile because it was more usable than the stylus driven keyboard which obviously was no better than one finger, and its still bloody painful with a capacitive screen, stylus or no.

    I really wish the crystal ball had been a bit clearer to educationalists in the 70s, and they'd added typing to the list of "no practical use" (words of my maths teacher on matrices) stuff they made us do. Persevering in telling me I'd be an abject failure if I didn't improve my handwriting was a) tedious and confidence sapping, b) completely wrong. Touch typing would have been a genuinely useful asset.

    Handwriting for search is a solution without a pressing problem.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: People still write?

      "Handwriting for search is a solution without a pressing problem."

      In my personal experience, a physical keyboard (even a tiny one) is the most productive method.

      On the other hand, we have the onscreen virtual keyboard many of which allow you to drag your finger to spell words (gee, that's surely half a dozen Apple IPs right there!). Anyway, some (Moto Defy / Swype) are quite good while some (SE Xperia Mini Pro) are rather less so.

      Maybe in the cases where swipe-type is bad or not provided and there's no real keyboard, finger spelling might be a simpler method?

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: People still write?

      How about people with big fingers for which virtual and even tiny physical keyboards are hit-or-miss?

      1. Jordan Davenport

        Re: People still write?

        How about people with big fingers for which virtual and even tiny physical keyboards are hit-or-miss?

        Like us Americans?

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Palm Pilot

      Yeah, I thought that Palm's simplified handwriting recognition was pretty cool... 16 years ago...

      1. david bates

        Re: Palm Pilot

        I can still Graffiti faster than I can swype or type on a virtual keyboard...

        1. John H Woods Silver badge

          Re: Palm Pilot

          I can still Graffiti faster than I can swype or type on a virtual keyboard...

          Me too - hence I downloaded Graffiti Pro from the Android Market and use it as my input device. It is almost perfect - just needs configurable shortcuts and a way to switch to speech recognition quickly (rather than switch the input device back to keyboard and press the mic button on that)

          Should see people's faces when I am texting :-)

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    5. Fibbles

      Re: People still write?

      If it had the ability to recognise cursive it'd be far quicker than an on-screen keyboard. The character recognition software behind it would have to be immense though.

  3. Quxy

    The Japanese binned this idea a decade ago

    And while the kanji recognition on my smartphone is very good indeed, in the 21st century we realise that there are more efficient ways to enter text. Given that handwriting recognition is inefficient for languages that traditionally *rely* on script, why on earth anyone at Google thought this was a clever idea for *Latin* languages is beyond me.

  4. tony2heads

    Shaking hands

    Bit of the Delerium Tremens? You need a drink

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More useless crap from Google

  6. dssf

    These, about languages, might interest some...

    From the 2nd URL:

    "Hangeul exceptionalists also take pride in how economical Hangeul is. All of the letters are composed of a combination of two common shapes: lines and circles. Hangeul has only 24 distinct letters, 14 consonants and 10 vowels, making it easy to learn. Hangeul is also easily adapted to computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices. Some people argue that the ease of inputting Hangeul into a computer or mobile phone stimulated the early diffusion of IT in Korea."

    From the 1st URL:

    "The Egyptians probably learned the idea and some principles of writing from the Sumerians. The other principles and all the specific forms of the letters were then quickly designed by some Egyptian who was clever, but not quite as clever as Korea's King Sejong. "

    Regarding the 3rd URL, I read somewhere (maybe on Hancom /Han office's site) that the Korean language is much more processor-efficient and enables intensive, text processing to run 20%-40% faster than the same research in other languages' words.

  7. Blubster


    My aren't we posh then using a finger for handwriting searches, I suppose you wear lingerie too don't you? Google voice search not good enough for you now eh? Well let me tell you. When I were a lad, if you wanted to search for summat, you got your arse down to the local library and bleedin well looked for it in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Kids today, they don't know they're born.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: My...

      Makes me wonder how people looked things up when the library was closed or when the search was for something so recent the encyclopedia hadn't covered it yet.

  8. Ian Yates

    Sounds innovative...

    so who holds the patent?

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