Google launches handwriting search for mobile & tablet; Introduces scientific calculator

27 Jul, 2012

Next time you want to conduct a quick search via your handset or tablet, forget keyboards and typing. Google has launched a new feature called 'Handwrite' for a 'smooth' web search on mobile phones and tablets. The search giant has also introduced a scientific calculator, built-in to its search engine. Here's a quick look at the new features.


With this new feature in force, users can search information on their mobiles and tablets by simply writing the letters with their fingers. You can write almost anywhere on the device screen "there won't be a keyboard covering half the screen.

"Unlike searching on a desktop or laptop computer, when you're searching on a touchscreen mobile device, it's often inconvenient to type if you are standing on a busy street corner or in a bumpy taxi ride. Now there's a new way for you to interact with Google," wrote Google's software engineer Rui Ueyama in a company blog post.

To use Handwrite, one has to go to Google.com from the mobile browser and tap on the 'settings' button at the bottom of the screen. Once on the 'settings' page, just enable the Handwrite option (you can also disable it whenever you want to). After saving the changes in settings, refresh the homepage to see the feature. On tablets, 'search settings' are available as an option behind the gear icon.

Once the feature is enabled, you can tap the Handwrite icon at the bottom-right corner of the screen to activate the writing surface. Users can write a few letters and Google will display autocomplete options below the search box, similar to how it works when you type with the help of the on-screen keyboard. Since you can write anywhere, you don't have to look back and forth repeatedly – from the keyboard to the search box and back.

If you are wondering what happens to your keyboard, don't worry. The search giant has introduced Handwrite to complement, rather than replace, typing, which means even with the feature enabled, you can still use the keyboard by tapping on the search box. As of now, Handwrite is only enabled for iOS 5+ devices, Android 2.3+ phones and Android 4.0+ tablets.

You can find more tips on using Handwrite here.

Scientific calculator comes to search

Google has also added a scientific calculator to its search engine and the moment you type in the word 'calculator', it appears on the search screen. The calculator also pops up when you type in a math problem and automatically provides the solution. For instance, we have typed '5 plus 12' in the search bar and the calculator came up with the answer '17'.

The scientific calculator has 34 buttons and can handle quite a few things – right from simple calculations like addition and subtraction to trigonometry and more. It can calculate sines, cosines, square roots and tangents, plus there are dedicated buttons for Pi and Euler's number. Moreover, this new feature is also available in mobile version. So you can use it instead of the traditional calculator available on your handset.

For those who are too busy (or lazy) to type, there's some good news. You can use Google's voice search feature to do the calculations without touching the keyboard. We have tried it and it works like a charm.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)