A SEARCH BY ANY NAME
VC Confidential has a good summary of a speech by Google CEO Eric Schmidt at the Economic Club. It lists 14 takeaway points from the talk, highlighting how Google views the world, most of which are likely to be familiar to Google watchers.
The one that caught my eye though was point number 11...it was something that I hadn't seen from Google before:
"Google is working on auto-translation products. This will allow content, trapped within a language such as Japanese, to be freed for consumption world wide by all."
In yesterday's post I highlighted and commended HP for working on an alternative keyboard for non-Western languages.
It's good to see Google focused on the same opportunity from a search perspective. Already almost 70% of the content on the web is in languages other than English, and growing fast. As this entry in Wikipedia observes:
"The most prevalent language for communication on the Internet is English. This may be due to the Internet's origins, as well as English's role as the lingua franca. It may also be related to the poor capability of early computers to handle characters other than those in the basic Latin alphabet. (Further information: Unicode).
After English (32% of web visitors) the most-requested languages on the world wide web are Chinese 13%, Japanese 8%, Spanish 7%, German 6% and French 4% (from Internet World Stats, updated November 30, 2005).
The task of making all the internet's content "auto-translatable" is not an easy one. It's good to see companies start to take a crack at the problem, and the opportunity.