Our Mobilize conference last week was great, as there were so many mobile tech experts wandering the halls. I spent a lot of time with several of them, and during a conversation about Android, I started using Google Gesture Search to search on my EVO 4G. Gesture Search brings the ability to search for information on an Android phone by spelling words a letter at a time on the screen. The reaction I received made me realize that many Android owners have never tried Gesture Search.
Gesture Search can be downloaded from the Android Market and opens up a powerful search capability. Once you fire up Gesture, you start writing a word anywhere on the screen a letter at a time, and you get instant results that narrow with each additional letter written. You can write the letter anywhere on the screen, and Gesture is very accurate at determining the correct letter. The real-time search results are presented as a list of contacts, music, applications or web bookmarks; the search is restricted to items on the user’s phone, not the web. Once you see the desired item, you tap it to go to the appropriate place to deal with the item. If you’ve searched for a contact’s name, tapping the result fires up the phone dialer.
Gesture Search shows the handwriting in progress in a box at the bottom of the screen. A swipe to the left erases one letter at a time, and to the right erases the entire word. You can enter letters or numbers, and enter multiple words by drawing a horizontal line between words for spaces.
A search app like this needs to be instantly available to provide a good user experience, and having to open the application to run it is not optimal. A third-party developer has released the Gesture Bar, which provides easy access to Gesture Search. I have a long-press of the Search button on my phone programmed with Gesture Bar to fire up Gesture Search. Both programs are free and work on any Android phone running version 1.6 and above.
Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):