Google has added a handwriting recognition option to its search page for smartphones and other handheld devices.

The idea is that scribbling on a screen can be a bit quicker than tapping out letters on a small on-screen keyboard, particularly when being bounced around on public transport or just walking down the street.

The option isn’t enabled by default, but turning it on is easy enough. On a smartphone or tablet, go to and click the link for “Settings” at the bottom of the page.


On the “Search settings” page, scroll down to find the “Handwrite” option and tap to enable it. Then scroll to the bottom of this page and tap the “Save” button.


The Google search page will then re-open, but this will probably need to be reloaded to show the Handwrite button at the bottom right — it looks like a handwritten lower-case “g”.


Tap the “g” button to enable handwriting recognition and then use a fingertip to write anywhere on the screen — letter-by-letter is easiest, but joined-up writing can be used, too.


There are buttons at the bottom of the page for adding a space and deleting letters that haven’t been properly recognised. Simply tap the “g” button to disable handwriting recognition.


You can read more about this feature on Google’s blog and there’s also a video with a bit more detail:

[tl:movies size=450×253]