Posted:
Unlike searching on a desktop or laptop computer, when you're searching on a touch-screen mobile device it’s often inconvenient to type. So we strive to give you a variety of ways to interact with Google, be it by speaking your queries, getting results before you finish typing, or searching by image. Now there’s a new way for you to interact with Google: Handwrite for web search on mobile phones and tablets.

Say you’re standing on a busy street corner, in a bumpy taxi ride, talking with a friend, or sitting on the couch with your tablet. Handwrite enables you to search by just writing letters with your finger most anywhere on your device’s screen—there’s no keyboard that covers half of the screen and no need for hunt-and-peck typing.



Getting started is easy: go to Google.com in your mobile browser, tap on “Settings” at the bottom of the screen and enable “Handwrite.” Note that after you've saved the setting, you may need to refresh the homepage to see the feature.


On tablets, the Search settings are available as an option behind the gear icon.


Once the feature is enabled, tap the Handwrite icon on the bottom right corner of your screen to activate the writing surface. Write a few letters and you’ll see autocomplete options appear below the search box. If one of the options is what you’re looking for, just tap it to search. For longer queries, you can continue writing and use the arrows next to the autocompletions to move the right one into the search box. Since you can write anywhere, you don’t have to look back and forth repeatedly from the keyboard to the search box.


For more tips and tricks on how to use Handwrite, see our Help Center article. To make accessing Google.com faster, be sure to bookmark it and add it to your home screen.

We designed Handwrite to complement rather than replace typing: with the feature enabled, you can still use the keyboard at any time by tapping on the search box. Handwrite is experimental, and works better in some browsers than others—on Android devices, it works best in Chrome. For now, we’ve enabled Handwrite for iOS5+ devices, Android 2.3+ phones and Android 4.0+ tablets—in 27 languages.

Have fun with this new way of searching!



(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

Posted:
Since its launch last year, people have been using Search by Image to do everything from tracking down the origins of old photographs to more exotic applications like search by drawing, recursive search by image, and creating photomosaics. To continue making Search by Image more useful, almost every week we launch changes to the algorithms that power this feature. Some of these recent changes include:

Smarter best guesses

When you search with an image, we use computer vision to try and figure out what the image represents, and then show you a “Best guess for this image.”


There are times when we may get it wrong or we won’t show any guess at all. However, we’ve made recent improvements to provide “best guesses” for more images more often and make the guesses more accurate. For instance, now you’ll see that the image above is not just a “flower,” but more specifically, that it is a bird of paradise, which is popular in Hawaii.


Knowledge Graph results

With the recent launch of the Knowledge Graph, Google is starting to understand the world the way people do. Instead of treating webpages as strings of letters like “dog” or “kitten,” we can understand the concepts behind these words. Search by Image now uses the Knowledge Graph: if you search with an image that we’re able to recognize, you may see an extra panel of information along with your normal search results so you can learn more. This could be a biography of a famous person, information about a plant or animal, or much more.


(Tip: In Chrome or Firefox 3.0+, images from the Knowledge Graph area can be dragged into the search box to start another search!)

More comprehensive search results

Finding more information about an image is the most common use of Search by Image. Very often this information is found on websites that contain either your image or images that look like it. We’ve made recent improvements to our freshness, so when photos of major news stories start appearing on the Internet, you can often find the news stories associated with those photos within minutes of the stories being posted. We’ve also expanded our index so you can find more sites that contain your image and information related to it.

Before, you would see only one site with this image you searched for.

Now, you see more information and sites with that image.

Try Search by Image by simply uploading or dragging-and-dropping a photo into the search box on Google Images. You can check out our video for all the ways you can search using an image, and you can also download the Chrome or Firefox extensions to make searching photos from any website even easier.