When I think back to my days at Primary School a lasting memory I have is sitting at a desk watching my teacher Mrs Cook forming elegant loopy letters on the black board for us to copy down into our workbooks. I used to love joining up the letters and trying to make them look uniform and regular. These days however, whilst handwriting is still very important in schools, much time is also spent learning to type and use our good friend the QWERTY keyboard. Not surprising then that some of our youth are the fastest texters in the world and could bash out an email for you on their smartphone in seconds! We’ve all had to get used to typing- in this technological age that we live in it is the only way forward. However, for those of us that miss forming letters ourselves Google has come to our rescue with its new app Google Handwrite. Handwrite allows you to scribble on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad screen to enter info into the search engine rather than using the keyboard. You simply need to enable ‘Handwrite’ on the Google.com screen and then you can scribble away. An overlay appears at the bottom of the screen which has the Handwrite icon and a handy spacebar and backspace button for you to use, but the rest is down to your scrawl. This overlay cleverly disappears automatically when you submit the search so that you can easily scroll through the search results on a full screen. The whole screen can be used as your writing paper and (providing you have relatively readable handwriting) you can even just enter the first few letters of your search for extra speed. For example, if you were searching for a mobile phone recycling website, simply entering ‘mobi’ will hopefully bring up some options for you to choose from. Google are keen to point out that they have added the Handwrite function to “complement rather than replace typing” and have made it easy to return to the keyboard at any time by just tapping on the search box on your screen.
Handwrite is a pretty good feature that will appeal to some users more than others. It works well in most browsers, but there is a noticeable improvement when it’s used in Google Chrome. It is a clever bit of technology that should definitely not be seen as a gimmick. Give it a try- you might develop a new love for handwriting!