Google Handwriting lets Android recognise your terrible handwriting with impressive accuracy
Handwriting recognition has, on Android at least, largely been confined to those using Samsung devices. Samsung Galaxy Note 4 users had it best with the inclusion of the S-Pen, while others could use their fingers to carve out a rudimentary “A” shape.
Now, thanks to Google, that feature is no longer exclusive to Samsung. With the release of Google Handwriting Input on the Play Store, any Android user running Android 4.0.3 Ice Cream Sandwich can throw the keyboard away and look forward to a future filled with handwriting.
Compatible with both smartphones and tablets, Google Handwriting is usable with or without a stylus and can recognise both cursive or not-joined-up writing. There’s support for 82 different languages and 20 distinct scripts.
You aren’t restricted to just sending messages or making notes with it either. Google Handwriting can be used as a replacement for your standard keyboard, allowing you to use it anywhere on Android, be it entering a website URL or composing an email.
Having used it rather briefly it’s pretty impressive at recognising our spider-like scrawl. Having tested it using a Sony Xperia Z3 running on Lollipop 5.0.2, the 5in screen is just a bit too small to enter words or sentences fully, instead having to write them out letter by letter. Turned landscape, it’s more than enough screen real estate, but it still feels like this is more suited for phablets or tablets.
Thankfully, Google Handwriting is rather accurate at picking out what you’re writing, guessing what word you could be trying to write by reading what’s come before. There’s even the ability to draw emojis using it, which led to some hilarious pictures being drawn but Google Handwriting accurately figuring out what we wanted to use.
We did confuse it a couple of times by writing “7” and it thinking it was a “y” or a “T”, and it never recognised the difference between “5” and “S”, but for the most part it’s completely useable. And, by allowing Google to take information from your handwriting, you can help improve its accuracy.
Give it a month or so and those little kinks should be ironed out.
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