Get out the pencil, it’s time to send an email. In a move that feels like a throw back to the 1990s when PDAs and the stylus were king, Google is introducing a new tool to Gmail and Google Docs — the ability to handwrite words, instead of type them.
But according to Google product manager, Xiangye Xiao, who announced the feature earlier this week on a Google blog, the handwriting capability was introduced to make it easier to communicate in foreign languages, such as Chinese or Greek. Instead of searching around for a special key combinations for foreign characters, just simply write them with your mouse or trackpad.
Oh, but first, don’t forget to turn on the new feature. Go to enable input tools in Gmail or Docs and select the handwriting input (represented by a pencil icon) of the language you want to use. There are more than 20 available.
Xiao says, “Whether you’re a student trying to include a foreign phrase in your paper or an international consultant hoping to begin your message with a friendly local greeting, now you’ll be able to use your own handwriting to input words directly into Gmail and Google Docs.”
Next on Google’s list of innovations: mimeographs.