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Updated: Google Translate & Google Search Now Detects Hindi Handwriting

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Update: Google has also extended Hindi handwriting support to Google Search, allowing users to write their search queries in Hindi. The company says this feature is available on Android phones running on Android 2.3 or later, Android tablets running on Android 4.0 or later and iOS devices running on iOS 5 or later.

When we checked, we noticed that one can head over to Google.co.in on their mobile browser, tap on settings at the bottom of the screen and choose the search settings. In the settings page, one can enable the ‘Handwrite’ option, switch the language in Google products to Hindi and add Hindi as a language of search results through the drop down menu to use the feature.

After enabling the feature, one can start writing anywhere on the screen and view the suggested autocomplete options below the search box to search using that query. We checked it on Nexus 4 and found the handwriting recognition to be quite accurate and fast.

Earlier (Aug 19): Google Translate has updated its Android app to introduce handwriting support for Hindi and Thai. With this, Google Translate now provides handwriting support for 48 languages, although Hindi is the only Indian language supported at the moment. The app is currently available as a free download on the Google Play Store.

To access this feature, one can open the app, select Hindi from the drop down menu at the top and choose the pencil icon at the bottom, which opens up a blank canvas at the bottom. One can then write Hindi characters in this canvas and the app automatically starts suggesting possible words and the translation for these words in the chosen language, based on what the user is writing.

We tried it on Nexus 4 and found the handwriting recognition and the respective translations to be quite accurate. Although, we feel the process can turn out to be quite cumbersome since we noticed that the service doesn’t seem to provide an option to delete a single character or a single word while writing. Also, note that one needs to have an active Internet connection on their phone to make use of this service.

Hindi Handwriting

Handwriting Support On Web: Besides the Android app, we also noticed that Google Translate website now offers handwriting support for Hindi. Google had introduced handwriting input to the Google Translate website in July 2013.

One can switch to this option by clicking on the input tools icon at the bottom of the text box, choosing the Handwrite option and drawing the text. The service starts predicting the word based on what the user is writing and provides translation for it in the chosen language. However, we noticed that the feature seems to have been designed keeping touch screens in mind and is quite cumbersome to use on a desktop.

Going forward, we hope that Google rolls out handwriting support to other Indian languages supported by Google Translate like Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Gujarati among others and introduce support for more Indian languages on Google Translate.

Similar Initiatives: In May 2013, Google Translate had added support for Marathi language and it now supports eight Indian languages including Marathi, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

In March 2013, Google Translate had also introduced offline language packages to its Android app with support for fifty languages including Hindi. One could download these language files on their Android phones and enable them from offline languages menu to make use of the service offline.

In the same month, Google had also introduced support for six Indic languages on Gmail on feature phone browsers and released a text input app called Google Hindi Input, which allows users to type in Hindi on their Android phones. It had also introduced system wide support for Hindi through the Android 4.3 update last month.


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