Google is known for its search and result capabilities. As of late, specifically mid-2012 around the release of Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, Google Now was released to the public for their usership and enjoyment. The idea is personal assistance, but one roadblock to searching is language. Whether you need to know the price per stock of your biggest investment in the stock market, or just want to know the weather, you want to be able to fluidly ask a question of Google, in English, then need to ask Google Now to call your sister, but in Hindi. Google Now and Google’s web-based voice search can handle a lot. But multi-language input and interface is one of the few things it can’t quite manage. Yet, that is.
Google Search’s Principal Designer, Jon Wiley, was asked about many things in a recent AMA (ask me anything) thread on Reddit about Google, about improving and changing Search. But one thing came up and it’s worth noting. Just like being bilingual (or more, depending) for a job allows fluency and transitions and translations between the two (or more) languages, Search may get bilingual. And I mean truly bilingual. When one user asked about multi-language, vocal input to Search, Wiley gave an interesting response. One that holds much promise for those that speak (or want to be able to search in) more than a single language.
Wiley went into delighted detail about a “really cool feature for voice search”, which is essentially allowing multiple verbal input languages to be selected, and therefore listened to/for by Google. Google then would recognize the language you’re using to search of get information, then use that language to give relevant results. How great is that! Google would be that multi-lingual secretary outside your office, or at the help desk, and be able to take calls in multiple languages, then pass them to where they need to, while maintaining the ‘language barriers’, or selected language(s) for the conversation or interaction. The idea is not new, but it is great to see two things. First, it’s great to see that Google and Search are working on multi-lingual support, especially since every country in the world (except a select few, for various reasons that are far too complicated and political for this time) has and makes use of access to Google Search vocally. And second, that Google is more than willing to listen to, and respond to, user feedback, ideas, and suggestions. This constant flow of creative input, both from within and without their company is what will bring us fluid multi-language searches, and many great features to come.