One of the daunting aspects of owning an Android-based mobile device is its ability to sync with contacts stored in Google Mail, and to pull names from Facebook, throwing everyone into one long, collective pool. The list of contacts can be enormous. Throw in the various apps and multimedia stored on the SD card, and there's quite a bit to cypher just on the phone itself. This is where Google's new Gesture Search app comes in: users simply draw a letter on the screen, and the app pulls up the associated content.
Released on the Android Market Wednesday, Gesture Search is an experimental program developed by Google Labs, and is compatible with devices using Android 2.0 and above in the U.S. The drawback to this app is that it actually is an app-- users can't simply draw a letter on the home screen and pull up the search results. Instead, users must install the app and tap on the shortcut first before performing the unique search. Still, that may be a good thing: accidentally drawing a letter on the home screen may lead to an unwanted search screen.
According to this official Google Mobile blog, the software improves search quality by learning from the user's search history. The company provides an example: the user wanting to call Anne will open Gesture Search and draw an "A." The software then returns a list of items that have words starting with the associated letter. The next time the users draws an "A," Anne's contact info will appear at the top of the list.
Google also added that Gesture Search will throw in additional results if the user's drawing doesn't quite resemble the actual letter. The company provides an example in this case as well, explaining that if the "A" looks somewhat like a lower-case "H," then the software will provide results that start with both "A" and "H" in the same list.
Gesture Search is definitely a great tool, and is available now on the Android Market for free. Perhaps Google will release a widget in the near future, allowing users to search directly on the home page.