Centre for Internet & Society

All you need to do is to make changes in settings on your phone or tablet.

The article by Apurva Venkat was published in Bangalore Mirror on April 18, 2015. Dr. U.B.Pavanaja was quoted.

Do you often have trouble searching for those Kannada words on Google? You don't know the English word for it and Google does not seem to understand when you type the Kannada word with English spelling. Well, now you can input your search requests on Google in your own handwriting, and that too in Kannada.

Google has come up with a third way to input your search requests after typing and voice recognition. The latest input methods recognises your handwriting and gives you a result. The new method allows you to input in 82 different languages, one of which is Kannada.

As you write in Kannada, your handwritten words would be converted to text in the search box. To start using the new feature, all you need to do is, go to your Google settings on your phone or tablet and enable handwriting. Then go to the setting and turn off 'use system language'. You will get an option of 82 languages. Choose the language you want to input your search item in. Once you have enabled the option on the lower right of the Google screen on your phone, you will see a handwriting option. Once you click on that, you can start writing what you want to search anywhere on your screen. The Google Handwriting Input can recognise 20 distinct scripts.

Wondering how effectively it will recognise the alphabets and numbers that look similar? The search giant has come up with a solution for that as well. If there is a confusion, it will give you options of the all the similar-looking alphabets and numbers on the bottom of the page. (eg 0 and o). A partial overlap of words is also supported by Google.

The Google Research Team said, "Google Handwriting Input works with both printed and cursive writing input with or without a stylus. Beyond text input, it also provides a fun way to enter hundreds of emojis by drawing them (simply press and hold the 'enter' button to switch modes). Google Handwriting Input works with or without an Internet connection." The feature can be used on any Android phone or tablet that works on 4.0.3.

UB Pavanaja, programme manager in Indian languages, Centre of Internet and Society, Bengaluru, said, "The new method of input is a very good initiative specially introducing it in Indian languages. The input method currently available to use for Indian languages are not very user friendly. It involves long pressing of buttons etc handwriting recognition will make it easier especially for people on the move."

Pavanaja has tried out the new input system and found it good. He said, "However, there are a few lags. For example, Ne is not recognised and a few more alphabets as well. However, with any new technology a small number of bugs are expected. This should be improved when more and more people start using it and giving feedbacks."

Another programmer from the city Thejesh GN feels that the new method will increase the local language communication online. Thejesh, said," All recognition is perfect. The input method is very useful as before one use to use Phonetic keyboard but here anyone and everyone can write in Kannada and take advantage of the new tool."

Google Handwriting Input even predicts your next word in Kannada. Beluru Sudarshan, a blogger from the city, felt that the whole input system is fantastic. When he tried the app, he noticed that the input system also predicts in Kannada, which is very useful. Belluru, said, "Even on a really small screen on my smartphone, it recognised all the Kannada alphabets very well. The input will surely much better on a tab or pen tablet. The errors in handwriting input are also human errors that occur due to human gestures which cannot be avoided. Overall, it works very well."