Let your fingers do the searching with Google's Gesture Search
Way back in the Stone Age of touchscreen gadgets (circa 1998) handwriting recognition was all the rage. Now it’s back, but with a 21st century twist.
Gesture Search – yet another innovation to be dropped out of the Google mothership – promises to swiftly locate specific apps, contacts, bookmarks or tunes on your Android handset if you merely trace the shapes of the initial letters of the file-name you want to find with your finger. Sounds almost too good to be true.
Gesture Search begins life by indexing the files and apps stored on your phone, which takes a couple of minutes. Then it asks you simply to draw characters on the screen with a finger. The app can reliably recognise English letters (upper- or lower-case) as well as numbers.
When it’s unsure (between 1, l and i for instance), you simply keep scrawling the next letters in the name of whatever it is that you are trying to unearth and the app will cunningly work out what you really mean and then display a list of possible matches. You then tap on your choice of file to launch it.
Almost anything on your phone can be located with just a couple of finger squiggles. If you make a mistake, a swift horizontal swipe clears the last symbol (left) or the whole query (right). A nice touch.
Gesture Search does have weak spots, though. You can’t search for video files or work documents, and you can’t launch a web search or use gestures to fill in text boxes. Most annoyingly, you have to first open the app to get on with the gesturing – although there is an awkward “double flip” motion you can perform with the phone that opens it automatically.
The Bottom Line
A solid start for scribble recognition but Big G needs to be more ambitious
Version reviewed 1.3.0
Requires Android 1.6 or higher