Google lets you handwrite messages on your Android phone

Google debuted new software yesterday that lets users handwrite onto any Android app.

The app called Google Handwriting Input works across 82 languages and all Android phones, the search giant said.

Much like the Swype keyboard plugin, once installed, the software will be available across all text entry fields as an input option. The technology could potentially help users who speak non-alphanumeric languages like Mandarin use their apps more easily, as well as boosting productivity for slow-fingered screen tappers.

Posting to the Google Research blog, the team behind the software said: "Entering text on mobile devices is still considered inconvenient by many; touchscreen keyboards, although much improved over the years, require a lot of attention to hit the right buttons."

"Using handwriting as an input method can allow for natural and intuitive input method for text entry which complements typing and speech input methods."

Emojis won't be forgotten either, with crude scribbles translated into the relevant emoticon, Google explained. As well as being a useful feature, this also shows just how sophisticated Google's algorithms have become.

While the software works with finger-based writing input, smartphone users may prefer a stylus in order to write more accurately on the smaller screen. Those working with tablets, however, may find that the new input method supplants traditional typing as being faster and more fluid.

Handwriting recognition technology has been present on devices before, but this is the first time it's been so widely deployed.

Previous iterations have also lacked finesse, with many criticising the inaccuracy of the interpretation. Google's on the other hand, has been receiving consistent praise for its accuracy.

You can download the app from Google Play.

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.