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/ Source: NBC News

Handwriting recognition on smartphones and tablets has never been the best, but a new Android app from Google does it better than any we've ever encountered. Google Handwriting, as it is imaginatively called, lets you write out messages longhand anywhere you'd normally tap letters on your phone or tablet's touchscreen. Amazingly, it doesn't seem to choke even on the most horrendous handwriting, as our testing showed.

Even truly bad, cramped handwriting was recognized reliably.Devin Coldewey / NBC News

All you do is write with your finger, and the keyboard detects what it is you've put down, even if you accidentally connected a couple letters or failed to dot an i. When you're done with a word it slides to the left, making room for the next one — or for the second half of the same word, should you require the space. Having tested some handwriting tech before, we found Google's version remarkably accurate, forgiving and simple to use. Anything with less than a 4.5-inch screen might feel a little cramped, but on larger devices you can safely write out whole sentences. Even emoji are supported (hold down the enter key) — and this too works miracles from poor source material.

If you get even remotely close, the app will recognize the emoji.Devin Coldewey / NBC News

The app is free, supports 82 languages, and replaces your usual keyboard, though you can switch easily to a normal one by hitting the globe next to the space bar. Download it at the Google Play Store.



—Devin Coldewey