Google Handwriting Input is an app that reads your handwriting, so you can write directly on your screen instead of using a keyboard. It adds an extra keyboard option to your device, which you can use in any app where you need to type.
82 languages and emoji too
Google Handwriting Input adds an extra option to your Android device for inputting info. As well as your keyboards and voice input, with Google Handwriting Input, you can now also write freehand and the app should recognize what you've written on the screen. It supports 82 languages, and Google says it's especially useful for those that are not well suited for keyboards.
As well as recognizing handwriting, Google Handwriting Input can recognize drawings of emoji, and it's pretty impressive.
You can write surprisingly messily and still have Google Handwriting Input correctly work out what you wrote. It's not infallible, but if you're a neat writer, you'll probably never see it make a mistake. There's an option to send Google reports of your usage of the app, which will help its recognition software improve.
But is it useful?
Google Handwriting Input is a neat tool, and an impressive piece of technology. How useful it will be on a daily basis is questionable. Standard keyboards with or without predictive text, and others like Swipe, are much faster ways of writing than using handwriting.
Another issue is screen size - using your finger like a pen isn't great, and as soon as you want to write longer words, Google Handwriting Input runs into difficulty. It's not so bad on a tablet or if you can use a stylus.
An Interesting proof of concept
I was left with the feeling that although Google Handwriting Input is good at recognizing hand writing, for most people it's not going to be that useful. It would be much better if it allowed you to scrawl over the whole of your device's screen, but even then in English it's simply not going to be as quick as using a keyboard.