In a move that could have interesting implications for the future of its non-Latin audience, Google Translate has brought handwriting recognition – first introduced in its Android app – to the web. In a blog entry, the company says it is aimed at times when you don’t know how to type characters.
Handwriting input lets you translate a written expression, even if you don’t know how to type the characters. For example, suppose you see the Chinese expression “饺子” and want to know its meaning in English, but have no idea how to type these characters. Using the new handwriting input tool, you can simply draw these characters on your screen and instantly see the translation.
It’s a recognition that an increasing amount of web usage is via devices with touchscreen input, and opens up a lot of future possibilities, such as automatic conversion of handwritten notes into text simply by opening a tab in your browser.
There are plenty of handwriting recognition apps out there already, and the feature is built into some devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note tablets, but the ability for any webpage to recognise handwritten input, signatures and perhaps drawings could make life a lot more convenient for those who, unlike me, write faster than they type.