Google IME: Typing Indian languages made super easy

Typewriter KeysHere comes Google’s latest baby – Google Transliteration IME (Input Method Editor) – a freeware tool that allows you to attain mastery of typing 14 different languages including Indian scripts such as Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu.

What makes the job easier is the phoenetic transliteration feature that allows one to type in any of these languages using a roman keyboard.

Users can type a word the way it sounds using Latin characters and Google Transliteration IME will convert the word to its native script.

This is very different from translation – which is conversion of a word or sentence  from one language to another while keeping the meaning intact. With transliteration one converts the sound of words from one alphabet to another.

Earlier on, I had reviewed two very useful transliteration tools – Avro Keyboard and QuillPad. While both these  tools are superb at their respective tasks, they suffer certain limitations. Avro Keyboard – a desktop application, was designed to type only Bengali. QuillPad supports multiple languages – but one has to be online to be able to use their editor.

Google IME is an offline application that transcends these boundaries by providing support for a multitude of languages without being dependent on internet connectivity. The application sports extremely useful features like dictionary support for completion for common and rare words, personalized correction memory, typographic customizations, quick web search etc. A full list of features is available on the Google IME page.

Google IME: Status WindowOnce installed the IME can be fired up via the Language bar or through shortcut keys. It manifests itself in the form of a small floating band (status window) at the bottom right corner of your screen. The leftmost icon denotes the application itself and doubles up as a dragging handle. The second icon represents the input language and can be used to switch back and forth between it and English. The third one is used to launch a virtual keyboard while the last one brings up the application menu.

Google IME: Suggestions

Once you start typing in your favourite editor, a small suggestions window pops-up displaying completion lists based a customizable dictionary which allows addition of new words in case none of the suggestions match with what you want. The correction memory keeps a note of this and next time you start typing in the same sequence of letters, your preferred word will be shown at the top of the list.

The virtual keyboard is mighty useful too and comes to your aid when you just can’t dig up the correct sequence of keystrokes required – specially in the case of complex joint characters –  for a successful transliteration.

Google IME - Virtual Keyboard

As of now Google IME only supports 32-bit Windows 7/Vista/XP. For other platforms, there’s always the online Google Indic transliteration tool. One drawback is that the supported languages are not bundled in together and need to be downloaded individually – as per your requirement. This helps keep the baggage at a bare minimum, though!

So… how about you grab a copy of Google IME and run down your experience by me.

[via The Official Google India Blog]

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Free eBook on best performing Ad placements for Chitika and AdSense untis

Get Chitika PremiumChitika, the search targeted advertisement network is offering a free guide (eBook) for making the most out of Chitika Premium and AdSense.

The book analyzes various medium to large websites and provides valuable suggestions for optimal  & harmonious placement of Chitika and AdSense advertisement blocks on your website leading to greater revenues.

Also provided are tips for customizing the Chitika ads (color palettes, fonts etc.) through code as well as heatmaps of high CTR (Click-Through-Rate) locations.

You can download this free eBook from here.

For those who haven’t tried out Chitika yet, Chitika Premium ads are displayed only to visitors coming to your site from search engine results pages. In contrast with the contextual AdSense ads that depend upon your site’s content, these ads are relevant only to the searched keywords. For example, if you searched for “technology” on any of the major search engines and landed on a post in this site, here’s what you’ll see…

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On this site, Chitika Premium ads are displayed immediately following a post’s content. However, the target segment is visitors from the US. Hence to see these ads in action, you’ll have to visit this live demonstration link. Alternatively, they can also be viewed by appending a #chitikatest=keyword(s) at the end of any post’s URL.

Get Chitika PremiumIf you’re interested in serving Chitika Premium ads on your website, you can do so by signing up as a publisher with them.

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Google Reader now lets you monitor static websites that do not offer RSS feeds

html-2-rssA new feature in Google Reader now allows you to monitor (and get updates) from static websites that do not offer feeds.

Using this feature is as easy as subscribing to a normal RSS feed – simply enter the URL of the site in the Add Subscription box and hit enter. For a feed-less site, Google Reader will automatically show you a dialog box with an option to Create a Feed.

GReader will setup a monitoring service for the page and intimate you of any changes when they occur.

Earlier on, the only options for monitoring a site for changes were third-party services like Page2RSS, Feed43 etc. – which acted as an intermediary layer between your feed reader and the site and provided you with RSS feeds from the target site’s content. To view the feeds, you were required to subscribe to the URL provided by these services using your feed reader.

With Google Reader, you’re essentially able to bypass this middle layer altogether – as both the conversion of a static site to RSS and the reading of RSS feeds will be handled by GReader itself.

If normal feeds are anything to go by, this service may very well double up as an archiving system for a particular web-page by keeping a detailed record of changes of time.

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A smarter Google to provide factual answers to your questions

Pyxle_OTH-01 (1)A smarter Google is out to capture the Next Generation Web with a pledge to provide a better understanding of the web.

Google Squared” – which, so far,  was an experimental effort to automatically identify and extract structured data from the web has been rolled out into the public today. With these algorithmic modifications in their search engine, comes the ability to highlight answers in the search results.

Answer highlighting helps you get to information more quickly by seeking out and bolding the likely answer to your question right in search results. The feature is meant for searches with factual answers… If the pages returned for these queries contain a simple answer, the search snippet will more often include the relevant text and bold it for easy reference.

For example, if earlier on someone was searching for the height of the Empire State Building using the keywords “empire state height”, the most probable results would be…

before-empire-state-height

Not so anymore. With Google Squared working behind the scenes, the same query will now fetch…

after-empire-state-height

As you can see, instead of providing links to articles containing the query keywords, Google now highlights portions of those articles containing to the point answers to the query. The idea is very similar to the quantified results that Wolfram Alpha provides although the presentation still remains in the same old Google format.

This is  definitely a huge step towards the next generation Web as envisioned by Tim Burners Lee (the inventor of the World Wide Web) and will make it much easier  and quicker for end-users to get to the  answers they are seeking. However, ReadWriteWeb expressed concerns over this new feature, stating that this may, in reality, prove to be a deterrent factor in terms of website traffic – as users won’t be required to visit the website anymore to dig through the article for the correct answer. Speculations aside, for webmasters it’s going to be more of a breathless wait-and-watch now.

On a similar note, the algorithmic changes introduced by Google Caffeine have started lapping up results from Twitter and related social media & networking sites.

What are you think about G-Squared?

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IPL 2010: Live on YouTube

ipl_youtube_liveIn light of YouTube’s recent foray into paid content with the likes of Disney and Sundance (and some rotten deals), here’s a bit of news that shines out bright.

YouTube has successfully brokered an exclusive deal with IPL (Indian Premier League) to stream the IPL matches live on the internet – a deal that holds good for the next two years with worldwide broadcasting rights (except in the US, where Willow TV holds the rights).

The deal will entitle YouTube to broadcast 60 matches spanning 45 days during the 3rd IPL season (beginning March 12, 2010) through a dedicated channel at youtube.com/ipl. Full match replays, match highlights, player interviews, wickets of the match, top sixes, pitch reports etc. will also be made available through this channel.

YouTube claims that this is the first major sporting event to be streamed live across the globe.

Good news is that, this content will be available absolutely FREE!

[via The Guardian, instantfundas]

The collaborative Google Translator Toolkit now sports GTalk chat

Worldwide translationGoogle Translator Toolkit, which is an excellent collaborative translation aid now sports an all new GTalk based chat of the same kind that you have in Gmail.

For those aren’t aware of this nifty add-on to Google Translate, the Translator Toolkit is collaborative workspace where can translate documents (along with your teammates) through a split pane display. Translation jobs can be saved and resumed on demand.

The translation source can be an uploaded document (in a Google Docs supported format), a link to a web-page, a Wikipedia article or a Knol link. Once the document has been processed a rough translation of the same appears beside it in language of your choice. This is the point where all similarities with the mother application (Google Translate) stops and the Toolkit with all it’s collaboration features takes over.

Translator Toolkit split pane display

Active translation jobs can be shared by inviting others the same way it’s done in Google Docs. Apart from that one can also refer to translated blocks saved earlier on or take help of a glossary (that builds up over time) & a dictionary (that suggests alternative translations). Moreover, whenever you enter a more accurate translation in place of a machine based sentence, word or phrase, the same is stored in blocks named Translation Memory or TM. Future jobs draw information from the TMs to provide you dead-accurate translations for repetitive phrases.

For example, if you’re translating the word cancer into Chinese, you will find alternate translations for cancer as a disease and cancer as a quickly-spreading danger so you can find just the right word for your translation:

Translation Alternatives

The addition of the chat feature makes all contacts who can help with with the task available to your in real time – thus expediting the process of translation immensely.

At my workplace, we’ve in the process of translating our entire website into several different languages – and I can foresee what an invaluable aid this will prove to be.

Have you tried the Translator Toolkit yet? What is your opinion?

Via: Official Google Blog

goosh: The Shell Lover’s Google

UNIX ShellThis one’s for all the Unix geeks and shell lovers out there… Goosh is a cool new service that lets you access a large selection of the Google applications through a command-line interface. The hardcore techies will definitely love the look and feel (and functions) of Goosh. The author, Stefen Grothkopp made it pretty clear that it’s not an “Official Google Product” – but is there just for fun.

When you first get to the site, there’s not much to meet the eyes except for some barebones instructions and a shell prompt. But then again – that’s how the real shells are. To get going you’ve to call-up the help page and get a list of available commands. The author had the foresight to implement bash-like aliases – thus cutting down on a lot of typing. The alias for help is h and here’s a screen-shot…

Goosh Screenshot

To perform a simple Google Search, you key in search {searchterms}. For example, if you’re searching for pages on AdSense, you’ll have to key in search AdSense. The actual command to perform a Google Search is “web“, “search” being an alias for it. Apart from normal Google Search, you can also fire away shell commands that call-up the I’m Feeling Lucky function, Google Image Search, Google News + Blog + Feed + Video + Map Search and even Google Translate! That pretty much covers the most utilised Google apps. As an added perk, you can perform Wikipedia searches too. Good job Stefan.

And yup, there are localization commands too – allowing you to change the default language of the interface. Also supported are command history and tab completion.

Goosh is based on Google’s Ajax Search API and is one of the best implementations of it I’ve come across so far.

Found via: My SysAd Blog

Gmail Labs! Google rolls out another surprise…

So Google’s at it again! Last night this all new link titled Gmail Labs materialised out of thin air in my Gmail interface. It turned up in one of my accounts only – which means Google’s rolling it out gradually – just as they’ve done with their earlier surprises. So expect it to turn up in your inbox sooner or later. Till then, keep a watch out for a bold, red link that says New! Gmail Labs right beside the Settings link.

And what’s cooking in the Gmail Labs?

From what I figured, the Gmail Labs will act as the stage for the introduction of a bunch of useful as well as fun plug-ins coded by Google’s staff and/or independent developers. These plug-ins will add extra functionality to various aspects of the Gmail interface. Provided along with each plug-in are feedback links. Those which receive the highest votes will probably be integrated into Gmail in future, while the poor performers will be taken off-air immediately.

Examples

Gmail Labs Settings Screen

Quick Links: This will provide a bookmarking container for your most frequently accessed links and fit in smugly in the leftmost column of the Gmail interface. You can use it for saving frequent searches, important individual messages, and more.

Superstars: Tired of the STAR icon that helps you mark important messages? Superstars will add in a bunch of multi-coloured icons (exclamation marks, check marks etc.) with which you can clearly demarcate mails of varying degree of importance.

Pictures in chat: This will help is displaying your and your friends’ Gmail profile pic. in the embedded GTalk window while you chat.

Others include Fixed-Width Font, Custom Keyboard Shortcuts, Mouse Gestures, Random Signatures etc. The whole list can be found in the Gmail Labs Settings page – which appears as a separate tab under the Settings link.

What if the plug-ins mess-up my Gmail interface?

Google’s kept an escape hatch ready for you in case any of these plug-ins behave abnormally. Simply follow this link to temporarily disable the Gmail Labs feature » http://mail.google.com/mail/?labs=0

I found the first two in the list particularly useful. How about you?

Google Presently goes live… finally !

Finally the wait is over. Google’s managed to round-up it’s online office suite by launching Google Presentation – the online equivalent of Microsoft’s PowerPoint. However, long standing speculations regarding the name of this application has been proven wrong in the sense that this app. isn’t called Presently – rather this app. doesn’t have a name at all. It’s being referred to as simply Presentation or Google Presentation.

Google Presentations from File Manager The application can be launched from the Google Docs file manager. Click on New and you’ll notice a new addition to the drop-down menu, titled Presentation.

It’s a pretty basic application and the features offered as on now will leave you wanting. You can import PowerPoint files lesser than 10MB in size and work on them directly. It doesn’t offer much in the way of exporting your presentations – except for HTML files with images. Themes and layouts are supported but there aren’t too many available options and no way of importing your own themes either. Short documents can be used to fetch the starting material for the first slide of a presentation. External objects cannot be embedded and transitions are missing altogether.

As it is with other Google Apps – you can share / collaborate the presentations and work on them as a group. To facilitate group-work, there’s an inline group-chat system based on GTalk that lets you communicate with active collaborators and viewers.

Google Presentation Screenshot

All in all it offers far less than the contemporary online presentation creators like Zoho Show and Preezo.

Google will continue to roll out enhancements over the next few months and hopefully soon we’ll have at hand a pretty strong competitor of PowerPoint.

Incidentally, the Google suite of apps. have undergone a minor name change. Instead of Docs & Spreadsheets, it’s now called Google Docs.

Found via: Google Operating System, Google Presentations Finally Launched

Cricket Scores: When all else fails, Google prevails

Cricket ImplementsThis one is for all the Cricket aficionados out there who’re on the move and desperately need to catch up with the scores of an extreme match. Can’t exactly recall that live score reporting service? Fear not, for Google is there to save the day for you. Simply type in the words “cricket” along with the names of the participating countries. The first returned result will tell you the real-time updated scores.

Can’t recall both the playing sides? No problem. As long as you can type in the name of one of the playing countries, you job’s done.

Repeating the same search brings up different scorecards – that is, for other matches played recently by these countries – but the most recent one is usually displayed first.

And if you type cricket without any accompanying country name, what you get is a random pick from the most recent matches being played worldwide. Along with the miniature score-sheet, you’re provided quick-links to a couple of sites like CricBuzz, CricInfo and Willow. Click on them and you get to the detailed live scorecards – a very handy service.

Here are a couple of screen-shots…

Google Cricket Scores Screen-shot #1

Google Cricket Scores Screen-shot #2

Have fun…