Announced on Google’s blog Thursday morning, the company's new beta project aims to make it easier to search, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Handwrite allows you to block print or handwrite letters, words, and punctuation on the screen, where it will be instantly analyzed and converted into a search term.
The feature is pretty simple to turn on: On an iPhone, scroll down to the Settings link on Google.com (on an iPad, click Search Settings from the Gear icon), enable Handwrite mode, then return to Google.com. Tap the new button in the lower right corner—it resembles a cursive lower-case g—to turn Handwrite on, and just start scribbling.
On an iPhone or iPod touch, I found Handwrite a little finicky due to the small screen. (See my hands-on video, below.) The service will intelligently try to guess at your letters and words, though, so if you only write “dowag” before you run out of room, you can continue with “er” and it will put the letters together to make “dowager”—and suggest you might be looking for the Dowager Countess from Downton Abbey, at that.