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Scribble searches on your phone or tablet with Google Handwrite

Google Handwrite lets you perform handwritten Web searches on your phone or tablet. See how to enable and use this new feature.

Google today introduced a new way to search on your phone or tablet. Dubbed Google Handwrite, it lets you write letters on your touch-screen mobile device instead of tapping away on the keyboard. Whether you'll find writing out search terms faster than typing them out remains to be seen, but it's worth checking out this new way of searching on your phone or tablet.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

To enable Google Handwrite, navigate your way to Google.com on your mobile device and find the settings link or button. On an iPhone, for example, the Settings link is located at the bottom of the screen. On an iPad, the settings button is located in the upper-right corner. In Search Settings, you'll see a new header for Handwrite. Tap Enable and then scroll down and tap Save. You may need to refresh the Google homepage for the change to take effect; I had to on my iPhone 4S but not on my iPad 2.

I looked for this same Handwrite setting in Google's iOS app but didn't find it, meaning you'll need to search via Safari, Chrome, or another mobile browser on iOS devices to use Google Handwrite. Android users, lets us know in the comments below if the same holds true for you.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

With Google Handwrite enabled, you'll see a button in the lower-right corner with a small, script "g." Tap on this button and a menu bar expands across the bottom of the screen with a space bar and backspace key. You can now write anywhere on the screen, and Google translates the letters you write as text in its search bar, offering autocomplete suggestions along the way. Tap the script "g" button to exit handwriting mode if you want to scroll on the page instead of write.

According to Google, Handwrite works with iOS 5.0 or later devices, Android 2.3 or later phones, and Android 4.0 or later tablets. It also supports 27 languages.

To see Handwrite in action, take a look at Google's video introducing the new feature: