Apr 25, 2017

Google introduces Indian language support across products

BYPankaj Mishra

Aiming to bring a billion people online and make the web more useful for them, Google India on Tuesday announced a new set of products and features for the Indian languages.
Google Translate will now use Google’s new Neural Machine Translation technology to support English translation for nine widely used languages — Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam and Kannada.
“Google wants to extend internet for every Indian. We have identified gaps that bar Indians from accessing the internet. There are 400 million internet users in India and the number is expected to reach 600 million by 2020,” Rajan Anandan, vice-president, India and Southeast Asia, Google, told reporters here.
India today has 234 million Indian language users who are online, compared to 175 million English web users.
“We expect another 300 million Indian language users to come online in the next four years. We’re taking a huge step forward to bring down the barriers that stop Indian language users to get more out of the internet and also help the Industry to solve for the needs of billion Indians,” Anandan added.
The neural machine translation is available in Chrome and Maps to make the translation process seamless and refined.
The company said it does one billion translations every day and 95% of Google Translate has its usage outside of the US. “Of over 500 million people who use Google Translate, most of the users are in India, Indonesia, Brazil and Thailand,” it said.
According to Google, neural networks initially took 10 seconds to translate, but the company has worked on it and brought down the time to 0.2 seconds in two months.
The company also launched Gboard in 22 scheduled languages in India. The users can now search words, meanings and even emojis in local language.
Like Google Indic Keyboard, Gboard offers auto-correction and prediction in the new languages.
The keyboard now has a new feature by which text editing can be done on the go easily. The Gboard comes with a feature that makes it easy to resize and reposition the keyboard according to a user’s need.
Bringing dictionary functionality on Google search for users, Google will now offer Hindi dictionary results from Rajpal & Sons dictionary in collaboration with the Oxford University Press.
Google also shared findings from a new report by Google and KPMG India, entitled ‘Indian Languages-Defining India’s Internet’.

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Pankaj Mishra is a writer of FactorDaily.