Google has a new Android app designed to capture your on-screen penmanship.
The app, called Google Handwriting Input, is designed to allow users to "write" on a smartphone or tablet touchscreen. It automatically interprets letters and transforms them into standard digital text. The feature works with or without a stylus -- so go ahead and use your fingers -- and can interpret 82 languages. Developed by the company's research team, Handwriting Input can identify both cursive and print handwriting, and accepts emojis.
"Using handwriting as an input method can allow for natural and intuitive input method for text entry which complements typing and speech input methods," Google's Research team wrote in a blog post Wednesday.
Google's handwriting app has company. Microsoft's Windows versions over the years have featured handwriting recognition on tablet PCs. Indeed, the feature has been used in the corporate world for many years where employees can turn to tablet PCs to quickly take notes or fill out forms.
Windows Journal, an app built into Microsoft's operating system, similarly allows users to input their handwriting. The app then interprets each letter and provides a standard digital text version.
Google's research team said that its handwriting app "is the result of many years of research" that was required for the team to identify exactly how it should interpret text and whether the analysis should be on-device or via processing power in the cloud. As it turned out, Google Handwriting Input supports both on-device processing of handwriting, as well as a cloud-based version. According to Google, when users decide to put their handwriting through its Web-based servers via the cloud feature, it "will usually produce more accurate results" than the offline version that doesn't send handwriting recognition out to the Web but rather uses the features built into the app to recognize letters.
Google Handwriting Input is available now as a free download in the Google Play marketplace. The app requires Android 4.0.3 and up in order to work.