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Yahoo! Introducess Hand-Written Search in Asia

Yahoo! this week debuted an interesting, new feature aimed at making life easier for its Asian users. The search engine yesterday revealed that users from Taiwan and Hong Kong can now handwrite their search queries instead of having to type in all the characters. The change should be especially useful to those who are new to computing.

"Typing search queries in Chinese can be challenging especially for new computer users because it requires memorizing Chinese character mapping rules," writes James Ying, product manager at Yahoo!. "Even experienced computer users don’t remember the mapping for all Chinese characters. The handwriting feature lowers the hurdle for people searching on Yahoo! Taiwan and Yahoo! Hong Kong."

To use the feature, all you have to do is open the writing panel by clicking the little pencil next to the search button and start drawing. When you draw a character, it'll show you six candidate characters that best match the character you drew. Once you've picked your character out of the six, you'll see a list of search suggestions.

The handwriting technology supports Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, English, and numbers, and requires the latest version of Flash.

Source: Yahoo! Blog