You can now scribble search queries directly onto the touchscreen of your mobile device, thanks to Google's new feature, Handwrite.
"Say you’re standing on a busy street corner, in a bumpy taxi ride, talking with a friend, or sitting on the couch with your tablet. Handwrite enables you to search by just writing letters with your finger most anywhere on your device’s screen – there’s no keyboard that covers half of the screen and no need for hunt-and-peck typing," writes software engineer Rui Ueyama on the Google blog.
It's simple enough to set up. Fire up Google in your mobile browser, go into Settings at the bottom of the screen, and enable 'Handwrite'. On tablets, the settings are available as an option behind the gear icon. See here for more details.
Once Google Handwrite is turned on, return to the Google search page and you'll see a new icon at the bottom right of the screen. Tap it to enable Google Handwrite, write a few letters anywhere on the screen with your finger, and autocomplete options will appear, just like they normally do.
Google says the feature is meant to complement the onscreen keyboard, not replace it, which is probably a good thing, especially on smaller screens. While trying out Handwrite on my phone was a novel user experience, I doubt I'll be using it very often, though it might lend itself better to tablet devices.