Google is renowned for its innovation in apps. Gesture Search is a great example, and another fantastic addition to the Google range of apps. The concept is simple : perform searches on your phone by merely swiping your finger along the screen. It’s unique and very useful – the kind of app that you can’t do without once you have discovered its magic.
1. Free Download
Google’s Gesture Search App is a free download from the Google Play store, but your search term needs to be “Gesture Search” (without reference to Google) in order to find it.
2. Indexing Apps List
When you launch the app for the first time, it will take a while to index the apps list on your phone. There is an option to allow this to continue in the background if you have a large number of apps, but it only takes a minute or so anyway. Also, during the initial setup process, you will be prompted to add a shortcut to the app to your home screen. Do this and ensure that the shortcut is located on the main panel of your multiple home screens so it is easily accessible.
3. Write A Letter
Tap the icon to launch the Gesture Search application. You will be confronted by a blank screen – use your finger to write a letter on the screen. instantly, a list of applications and contacts will be displayed that contain the letter you drew. You can now filter down through the list by drawing another letter to reduce the size of the list. Scrolling also works to help you quickly find whatever information you were seeking. When you see it on screen, just tap on it to either launch the app or view the contact.
4. Delete A Mistake
If you make a mistake in your typing, a quick right to left swipe will delete the last character. If you want to remove the entire string you’ve entered, you can do so with a left to right swipe in the bottom section of the screen, where your gestures are displayed.
5. Search Settings
Click the Menu button and you can then configure the app, in particular what it will search for. By default it will search your contacts, bookmarks and apps. You can also add Music – which includes artists, tracks and albums – and phone settings.
6. Learning Process
Gesture Search is constantly learning based on the gestures you enter and the corresponding results you click on. This way it will begin to take into account your handwriting style. When you first begin using the app, it is worth spending a few minutes just drawing some gestures and clicking results. If you have problems with the app recognising the letters you were intending to write, you can adjust the recognition speed to suit. Go to Settings and select ‘Writing speed’. Choose Slow for a more precise performance or Fast if you find it’s working well for you.
7. Activate With Motion
Once you get up to speed using gestures to search, the final step is to set up the ‘Activate with motion’ option. This will let you bring up the Gesture Search window by flipping the device as you hold it. It’s a useful feature to use when you become adept at inputting one handed gestures using your thumb alone. This means you will be able to give the phone a quick flip and enter the first initial or two of a contact, then make a call, all in virtually a single motion. However, you should remember that since this feature needs to constantly monitor your movements for the right motion gesture, it will expend more battery life in the process.
8. Motion Sensitivity
Press the Menu button choose Settings and then select ‘Activate with motion’. You have three different levels of sensitivity to choose from. To begin with, you should select ‘Easy to trigger’ so that you can get a feel for how the motion gesture system works. You won’t be able to leave it on this setting permanently, though, as you’ll find the app continually launching after virtually every random, inadvertent gesture.
9. Practise The Gesture
With the setting turned on, exit the app to begin practising. Hold the phone upright, facing you and give it a twist and slight turn away from you – the screen should be rotating left to right to left in your left hand. When you get the gesture right you’ll feel a vibration in the phone to alert you to the fact that the app has been activated.
10. Get The Settings Right
Practice the motion gesture a few more times till you know what you’re doing – there’s a visual guide to assist you in the app’s Help section. Once you’ve got it right, adjust the settings again, setting the sensitivity to either ‘Normal’ or ‘Hard to trigger’ to prevent accidentally launching it. Give it a quick test to make sure you’re still able to use the gesture.