There are a handful of Chromebooks with touchscreen displays and at least one model that you can even use as a tablet. So it’s no surprise that Google’s Chrome Operating system now features an on-screen keyboard for the times when you might not want to use a physical keyboard. Now there’s another way to enter text without typing: Chrome OS now supports handwriting recognition. The feature’s kind of limited at the moment. You’ll need to be on the Chrome OS Dev Channel to use handwriting for text input. That means you’ll have early access to new features like this, but you may also have to deal with some bugs that haven’t yet been squashed.
Ever since the launch of the very first Chrome OS device, there have been people hoping to see a tablet running Google’s browser-centric OS. Whether or not we see a tablet in the future is still unclear, but a recent discovery regarding handwriting recognition shows that touch is still a priority. When done correctly, writing on a touchscreen can be a fantastic experience. Microsoft has just about nailed handwriting recognition with the Surface Pro 3, especially with the design of the screen and the new pen tech being used. The only thing that comes close is Samsung’s handwriting input on the Note line of devices, which uses Wacom as thee pen input and still isn’t particularly comfortable to use. Google seems to have a basic implementation of very similar tech in the Chrome OS Dev channel, which is a great sign for the future of touch on this platform. Chrome OS wizard François Beaufort recently stumbled upon a very simple input mechanism for writing in a box and having those words turn into regular letters on the screen. This format is very similar to how Samsung has implemented their handwriting recognition, where you only really write a word or two at a time and tap to post the results into a text box. This is somewhat inferior to Microsoft’s setup, which allows you to hand write complete sentences before pasting to the text box, but since this is clearly something in development there’s no space to pass judgement on an incomplete tool just yet.