Don't like typing on your smartphone? Hate the idea of dictation? Now, thanks to Google's new app, you can scribble handwritten notes instead.
Google Handwriting Input has just been launched for all Android devices and as the name suggests, it allows users to scribble words by hand, turning them into typeface.
The app supports both print and cursive writing in 82 languages and 20 different scripts. It also recognizes emojis, so you can draw your own smiley faces on your messages. You can furthermore choose from local or cloud-based handwriting recognition. Google says the latter is more accurate, but it obviously requires an Internet connection.
This is not Google's debut in handwriting recognition, but it's the first time the brand is bringing support for its handwriting tools to all of Android. Previously, Google featured handwriting recognition in the Google Translate app, as well as on mobile search and the Google Input Tool.
Anyone who has tried to write on a touchscreen might be wondering what the point is. Google says that some people find typing on a screen difficult — but in reality, if you're having trouble with a touchscreen keypad, then you're probably going to find handwriting even trickier.
Testing it out for myself, the tool does seem to be recognizing my handwriting — but it's certainly no quicker than typing.
One practical application for Google Handwriting Input is writing in languages and scripts that are difficult to type on a keyboard. For example, keyboards for ideographic languages (such as Chinese) are often based on a particular dialect — but if a user does not know that dialect, the adapted keyboard may be hard to use. Additionally, keyboards for complex script (as of many South Asian languages) are less standardized and may be unfamiliar.
Even for those who just use the Latin alphabet, the free app is a fun alternative to typing and the addition of drawable emojis is certain to attract some users. The app is available for any device running Android 4.0.3 or higher.