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Google launches virtual keyboard

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Search giant Google has announced a new on-screen keyboard that allows users to input characters in a range of languages regardless of what sort of physical keyboard they are using.

Writing on the Google blog, Manish Bhargava, the product manager for Google International, described how the keyboard can already appear from any text field on a webpage if developers adopt a piece of Google code. “We are taking this effort one step further by integrating virtual keyboards into Google search in 35 languages,” he wrote.

Users of any of the 35 supported languages will now see a small keyboard icon next to the search filed; clicking on it will bring up the new keyboard.

Explaining the development, Bhargava added: “Our user research has shown that many people are more comfortable formulating search queries in their own language but have difficulty typing these queries into Google. To overcome the difficulty they face in typing in their local language scripts, some people have resorted to copying and pasting from other sites and from online translation tools. But the virtual, or “on-screen” keyboard, lets you type directly in your local language script.”

Users can either click on the keys on-screen, or they will match automatically to keys on the keyboard. With the growing popularity of touch-screen monitors, too, the development is likely to become more.

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