Google Scribe Dabbles in Text Autocompletion

Google introduced Google Scribe from Google Labs, a text autocompletion tool. Google Scribe works very much like Google Suggest for the company's search engine.

Google has released a new Web service called Google Scribe, the company's latest in a line of autocompletion tools geared to help users complete tasks faster.

Scribe, launched quietly to Google Labs in August, provides a sort of notepad user interface. The experiment is currently available in English only.

Users will type words, and Google Scribe will offer suggestions in a drop-down menu. If a user likes one of the suggestions, he or she can hit enter or a numeric shortcut and Scribe will plug in the word.

The good thing is that users can simply ignore suggestions entirely if they don't fit into the message the writer wishes to convey.

Conversely, users looking for a bit of fun can simply keep hitting enter to create some silly or inane sentences and paragraphs. ReadWriteWeb is correct in comparing this practice to Mad Libs for children.

Users may also select whether to receive suggestions always, "on-demand" by hitting the Tab key or never.

The cool part is Google Scribe can be used on any Web page with the Google Scribe Bookmarklet. From the Google Scribe home page, users can drag the Google Scribe Bookmarklet below the text box to their bookmarks or favorites toolbar.

Then, to enable Google Scribe on a Web page, users will simply click on the Scribe Bookmarklet. Text fields that are Scribe-enabled will have the Scribe icon at the top end corner of the active field.

If this functionality sounds a lot like Google's Suggest functionality that's because it is, though instead of just working for search, Scribe works on just about any Web page.

In fact, to test how similar Scribe works to Suggest, eWEEK used the Scribe Bookmarklet in the Google search box. In addition to search suggestions from Google Suggest, word suggestions from Scribe dropped down over the Suggest options.

The Scribe suggestions overlaid right atop the Suggest options, making it impossible to see if the words were the same.

There is no sense now whether this technology will be heavily embraced beyond Google Labs.

Some folks think Scribe would benefit mobile input, though it's debatable whether the world needs another text-input method; search autocompletion and handwriting apps such as Google Gesture and Swype are in the mix and voice search is so clearly the future access point on smartphones.

News of Scribe comes to light as Google is preparing to launch live or streaming search at an event Sept. 8.