Google Gesture Search for Android Review


As I mentioned before, it is very interesting what you find at Google Labs. The latest gem is Gesture Search. Gesture Search is an Android application that allows you to write on the screen and have the application search in any, or all, of the following categories:

  • Contacts
  • Bookmarks
  • Application Names
  • Music

The process reminds me a lot of using Graffiti on my old Palm (*sigh* I actually miss Graffit). Anyone remember TealScript? The difference here is that you do not need to learn special stokes, you literally write the letters. The brilliance of this implementation is that the application does not need to determine if your scrawl was a “D” or an “O”, it can just search based on it being either of those two letters. It’s not trying to do OCR, it is trying to help you search.

After downloading, the settings are very straight-forward:

I find the fastest speed to be fine. It controls how soon the application decides you have finished with the letter. I tried to set it to slow to get screen captures of the on-screen writing, but that did not work. Thankfully they had examples in the online help, they follow:

  1. From a blank screen you write the first letter.
  2. The list contains matches to the first letter (notice it thinks “A” or “H”). Now you write the second.
  3. Now it shows all the potential matches. It interpreted the second as “n”. There is no “HN”, so it shows all the matches to “AN”.
  4. Tap on the desired item.

It works quickly, and well. I wish that there was a way to make it pop up automatically. You can place the icon on your home screen for easy access. If you do a poor job tracing a letter, a simple right-to-left swipe deletes the last character.

It is a simple application, but has definitely earned a place on my Android.


Product Information

Manufacturer:Google Labs
  • Free
  • Easy to configure
  • Good character recognition
  • No quick access
Posted in: Android
{ 4 comments… add one }
  • tnaftal July 16, 2010, 8:50 am

    Ha! I don’t miss graffiti cause I still have it!! I haven’t given up my Handspring Visor yet!! I use it daily & only just last month had to get a new battery replaced. Luckily , my security guard is a former computer gov’t genius who helped build the first computers ever. I put him to use replacing the battery which was rather tricky due to its compact placement inside. It kills me that Handspring was so overlooked , ahead of its time & everyone is excited about iphones when my Handspring has been doing all it could do since I was homeschooling my kids with it & my portable keyboard at MacDonalds restaurants. So many memories!!

  • P2Labs July 16, 2010, 10:26 am

    Now YOU don’t have to miss Graffiti anymore either! It’s released today – FREE – on the Android Market. Happy days are here again…

    Unless you prefer Swype – I do – it’s even easier…

  • Bryan Sherman July 16, 2010, 10:56 am

    @tnaftal I loved my old Clie TH-55, but couldn’t go back to it after having Android.

    @p2Labs THANK YOU. That rocks. Amazing how the stokes come back to you!

  • jaamgans July 22, 2010, 1:08 pm

    Find it is a great search engine for the android and looks good too – found it to be quite a wow factor for a lot of people.

    However I tend to not keep it installed – it takes up too much juice by always indexing to keep it fast. I would rather have this as an option – manual, every day, every hour etc. I really think that once a day is more than enough – or even manually – as I think most people are continuously adding documents, people or items to their phone.

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