If you thought instant search suggestions and results was fun, get a load of this: At Yahoo Taiwan and Yahoo Hong Kong, searchers can handwrite their search queries and Yahoo will try to match the handwriting to letters, and then show suggested searches.
It’s all described in this Yahoo blog post, complete with screenshots showing how users can begin their search by using a “handwriting panel” next to the search button.
Yahoo says that’s the Chinese language character for the first letter of Lady Gaga’s name. To the left of what the user has drawn, Yahoo shows six possible character matches. And once the searcher indicates which character s/he drew, Yahoo then shows 10 suggested searches.
Yahoo says this feature should make it easier for searchers who typically type their queries in Chinese, but the feature also accepts handwritten queries in English. Here are the results of me using the writing panel with the letter “s.”
You’ll need the latest version of Adobe’s Flash Player for this writing panel to work. Yahoo says the technology supports Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, English, and numbers.