Over the years, Google has introduced input tools to allow you to interact with its services in a multitude of languages and non-Latin characters and today has introduced a whole new set of tools to take that to the next level.
You should be able to use any Google product, no matter what language you speak or where you’re located on the planet, and that’s exactly what’s happening with today’s announcement.
The company says that it supports 65 languages, with alternative input methods being extremely limited up until now. For example, only one of four popular input methods for Chinese was previously available. Great, but not for everyone.
Here’s what the Google Translate team had to say about it.
We believe that your choice of input tools is important, because the best way to input text with a keyboard varies from language to language, and even from person to person. Every language has its own set of popular input methods, each familiar to its own subset of users. For example, the Portuguese keyboard has two common layouts, one popular in Brazil and another in Portugal. In addition, given the popularity of Latin-alphabet keyboards, a transliteration input tool is often the preferred input method for many languages, allowing users to convert Latin-alphabet input into the proper written script. (Chinese has over 80,000 characters. Try fitting them all on a keyboard.) With the right transliteration input tools turned on, you can simply type “privet” to input привет, “tieng chao” for tiếng chào, and “nihao” for 你好.
It’s easy to start using our new input tools. Once you have chosen your input language, you will see the input tools icon at the bottom of the text area. Click the icon to turn on the input tool or switch to another input tool in the drop-down menu.
Here’s a look at these input tools in action:
By making all of this information available in every language, Google is facilitating an ongoing conversation with people spread all over the world. With the data that it collects in say, Russia, it is learning how to serve its users in New Jersey. It’s hard to comprehend because we see language as a barrier, but with tools like this, that barrier has been knocked down, if not out.