Mobile // Mobile Devices
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8/12/2010
11:53 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
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Google's Gesture Search Flips Out

Google has updated the Gesture Search application for Android, which can now be launched at the flick of a wrist.

Gesture Search is a neat application from Google. It allows users to draw letters on their Android handset's screen to perform basic searches for things on the handset. Some of the things Gesture Search can be used to seek out include contacts, bookmarks, applications, and music -- all by writing letters or digits on the screen.

Gesture Search version 1.2, which was made available via the Android Market today, adds an interesting new feature. By accessing the device's accelerometer, users can now open Gesture Search by doing what Google calls a "double flip." Basically, pretend you are Captain Kirk, from Star Trek, and imagine you are opening Kirk's communicator device with that suave flick of the wrist that only Shatner could pull off. (And really, this shouldn't be all that hard for the Trekkies and Trekkers out there.)

Google explains that this negates the need to use the home screen shortcut to open Gesture Search, and allows the search tool to be opened at any time. Users can adjust the sensitivity settings in the app's menu.

I downloaded the new application and tested it out. It walks users through a tutorial on exactly how to shake their wrist before the app will work. It also needs to take a moment to catalog everything on the device. Once those steps are completed, you're ready to go. The first few times I tried to use the double flip to open Gesture Search, it didn't work. I had to adjust the application's sensitivity. Once I made the adjustment, it worked properly. Flicking your wrist will open the Gesture Search app. Neat use of the accelerometer.

The software recognizes shapes, letters and numbers as you draw them on the screen. If you draw an "A", and your target isn't shown with that one letter, just keep writing. Gesture Search continuously filters results with each letter added. You can also delete letters if you make a mistake, or delete the entire search and start over with a swipe of the finger.

Gesture Search 1.2 is available for Android handset running Android 1.6 Donut and up. Here's a video demo of it in action:

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