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Google Adds Virtual Keyboard To Search

Search titan Google has added a virtual onscreen keyboard to its service, one that will prove to be particularly useful for those trying to enter foreign characters using a traditional QWERTY keyboard.

Manish Bhargava, Product Manager at Google, described (opens in new tab) the frustration that some Google users face when they have to type in their local languages scripts. Some even have to resort to copying one word at time from other websites or online translation tools.

From now on, Google will integrate the virtual keyboard into Google search in 35 languages that for some reason exclude Chinese (in any form) but include Mongolian and Tatar.

The online keyboard can be activated by pressing on the appropriate button next to the search field on the Google homepage. Back in 2009, Google launched a virtual keyboard API on code.google.com which allowed developers to integrate this functionality on their webpages.

Virtual Keyboards are essential for those looking to bypass any potential keylogger in public places - like in internet cafes - since the input device is the mouse rather than the keyboard.

Interestingly, one of the targeted audiences happens to be tourists who are often left to their own devices when having to use computers with foreign keyboards across the world.

Désiré Athow
Contributor

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.