Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Google Translate - best functionality

Recently, I was in Beijing and I witnessed something really amusing and impressive.

I went to a street hawker who was selling computer junk and I tried communicating with him. Well, apparently - China is a Mandarin speaking country with people having limited knowledge of English. So communicating with them is a big issue. Many many times, we just give up on communicating with a local in Beijing.

Now, our street vendor turned out to be an intelligent & indigenous guy. He knows that if he doesn't communicate effectively with us, he will lose business and will ultimately lower his earnings.
So, How does he solve the problem?

He is selling technology, so simple - he uses technology to abridge the communication barrier. and how does he manage it - By using Google Translate. ( for those who don't know about Google translate, its a google online application which can be used to convert one language into another - This amazing tool can be used to translate between 42 most widely used languages in the world )
His method of using the tool.
He connects to a wi-fi network in one of the buildings in Haidian area. ( Haidian is the IT capital of Beijing and it houses majority of IT companies in China. )
Then, he goes to Google Translate ( and writes his message for us in Mandarin. He translates it into English. After reading the message, I can type my message in English in another browser window, which can be translated into Mandarin.
This is how we communicated and it was very lucrative for him. Our gang must have done over RMB 500 of shopping from him.

My learning from this incident is that - no matter how complex the problem is, if you want a solution badly enough, you will get it !!!

Another point I want to make is that Google is such an amazing company. I don't see any revenue avenues for Google from Google Translate. However, they are still maintaining the product and are investing the dollars into it. The ideology & passion of the company to make internet is a better place is mind boggling. HATS OFF folks !!


venkat_(n)ever_thinking said...

Very enlightening! But i really don't buy your argument about google's philanthropy.. it makes deeper business sense than is suggested on the surface.
Read this for a preview of wat i'm trying to say:

instant_blogger said...

I agree with you on this Venkat
there is nothing called philaanthropy

You know that I know certain people in Google. They tell me that google's business model is simple
get more ppl on the net and anyone who uses the net has to sometime use google product
Thats their business model which is unique and highly effective
Its called "The Network Effect"