Google has unveiled the latest addition to Google Labs, its text autocompletion tool Google Scribe. Scribe takes a look at the text you’ve already entered and tries to predict the next word or phrase, offering a drop down list of suggestions for you to chose from.

The most obvious application for Google Scribe is as a keystroke saver for Google’s mobile platform, Android, and as an Internet-wide form of Google Suggest, the tool that suggests search terms as you type. In the meantime, it will likely offer up some entertainment and a bit of procrastination.

The first thing we tried, after seeing if Scribe could tell us exactly how many sheets to the wind a drunk person might be, was to see what the tool suggested if we let it get behind the wheel. We started hitting “space” and then “enter” and wound up with this:

Another user noted in the reviews on Google Labs that they had found a similar phenomenon, wherein “If you let it autocomplete everything but the first word it ends up looping on itself, but not before running into ‘Ima let you finish but Beyonce had one of the best…'”.

Google-centric blog Google Operating System noted similar instances, which it explains comes from Google using “data extracted from web pages”. It offers the example of “choose IngentaConnect” as a suggestion for after typing the word “why”, which is offered because that phrase is used repeatedly on IngentaConnect’s site.

For now, the tool is only available in English, though the presence of a language drop-down box strongly suggests others will soon be available. Users can also chose between constant word and phrase suggestions or having suggestions appear only when they hit the “tab” key.

A bookmarklet is also available, which shows which text fields on any page will allow Scribe to provide suggestions, meaning suggestions similar to those you would get in Google Search can now be offered up across the Web. In terms of functionality off the mobile platform, this might be the biggest – the power of Google Suggest anywhere you like. Perhaps this will be a feature we soon see added to Google Chrome? We’ll see.

The real advantage, we think, will be to Google’s mobile users, who don’t have access to a full keyboard, but rather a touch screen. It could also be a big hit on Google TV, which will allow users to use their Android phones as controls.

mike melanson

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