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Gesture Search Reaches Android 1.6 Phones Today

Users of older Android devices were given access today to Google's recently enabled Gesture Search Lab. Gesture Search lets users search the contents of their phone by drawing letters on the touch screen with their finger.
Users of older Android devices were given access today to Google's recently enabled Gesture Search Lab. Gesture Search lets users search the contents of their phone by drawing letters on the touch screen with their finger.Gesture Search was first announced for Android 2.0 devices on March 4. Today, Google has expanded availability of the device to devices running Android 1.6 in the U.S. and in any country where Android Market is supported. It's nice to see Google make this feature available to older phones, as those with Android 1.6 devices must be feeling more and more left out these days.

Once the app is downloaded from the Android Market and installed, users can open it, draw a letter on the screen, and the software will parse through the phone's contacts, bookmarks and music tracks to find everything that matches. The software will pick only those items that start with the letter drawn by the user. So if you draw an "A", it will find all the contacts, bookmarks and songs that begin with the letter "A".

Google says that it has built in a rough form of error control for those who have awful handwriting (like me). It explains that if you draw an "A", but it looks more like an "H", it will display the words that begin with both "A" and "H". Not a perfect solution, but a helpful one nonetheless.

If you want to clear the search parameter, simple swipe from left to right. If you want to delete the most recent letter draw on the screen, swipe from right to left. Google notes that the software will monitor searches. So, for example, if you perform a search for words that begin with "Q" often, it will automatically show you the results that you pick most often after performing that search.

The app can't be used to search the Web, and rightly so. Searching for the letter "A" on the Web woud return a ridiculous and useless number of results.

Phones running Android 1.6 can snag the Gesture Search application from the Android Market starting today.