Google launches Gesture Search


Draw with your finger.

Google has released a new mobile search tool designed to boost user productivity, but only for a limited number of handsets.

The new Gesture Search functionality is a Google Labs application for devices running Android 2.0 in various countries. A Google spokesman confirmed that this means only UK users of Nexus One and Motorola Droid and Milestone handsets would currently have access to the functionality.

"Say you want to call your friend Anne. Just open Gesture Search and draw the letter 'A', and Gesture Search returns a list of items that have words starting with 'A'," said Google research scientist Yang Li in a blog post.

"If your handwriting isn't all that neat, that's OK. If the 'A' you draw looks a bit like an 'H', 'H' results will be brought up as well. Now you can either scroll down the list to find Anne or write more letters to refine the search."

The announcement generated great excitement, especially from Google's US user base, but others expressed their disappointment that they will not have access to the functionality.

An Android user by the name of 'Sushubh' said: "Google Nexus One owner from India. Cannot find it on the Android Market here. Disappointed."

Another user called 'JB' added: "Thanks for leaving out the great majority of android phones." And another called 'AhynesG1' commented: "Another app that leaves anyone running 1.5 or 1.6 behind..."

The search firm has also introduced a Stars feature that will allow users to personalise search results.

The feature will appear alongside all search results and maps. Users will be able to click on the star icon so that the item will appear in a special list at the top of the results page the next time they perform a search.

"The great thing about Stars is that you don't have to keep track of them," said Google product manager Cedric Dupont and software engineer Matthew Watson in a blog post.

"Simply perform a search and you'll rediscover your starred items right when you need them."

Stars will also synchronise with Google Bookmarks and Google Toolbar so that users can have quick access to their Stars.

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