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Thumbs up – and down – for Google May 24, 2007

Posted by John in Technology.
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A lot of buzz going on about Google these days – some of it positive, some of it – well – not so positive.

However the latest news – on the launch of a test version of a translation tool that enables people to search the Internet in any of a dozen languages and have the results converted into their chosen tongue, was mainly applauded. It was reported by French News Agency AFP and at the Official Google Blog.

At the Google Blogamong other, writes that that the goal with the new feature (that is still in beta) is to really help users get access to all the world’s information in spite of the language barriers. He gives an example “Now, you can search for something in your own language (for example, English) and search the web in another language (for example, French). If you’re looking for wine tasting events in Bordeaux while on vacation in France, just type “wine tasting events in Bordeaux” into the search box on the “Search results” tab on Google Translate. You’ll then get French search results and a (machine) translation of these search results into English.”

Bloggers mainly referred to the tool as a helpful. At Softpedia Bogdan Popa writes that the function is very useful for a lot of internet users. “Google makes an important step for the improvement of the search engine because the translation feature might be implemented into the main technology very soon,” he notes.
Arnold Zafra at Search Engine Journal calls the feature neat. But, he states, there’s more to this Google translate service than what it actually is. “Google was ever so kind enough to include pre-selected options to embed a translation toolbar right into a user’s bookmark toolbar.”
At SearchEngineLand Greg Sterling says that the translation appears to be a useful service, chiefly for non-English speakers seeking information from English-language sites but also reciprocal. In other words, I can now search for hotels in Paris on French-language pages or bars in Moscow from Russian sources, he writes. The languages currently supported are: English, Arabic, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified).

Another Google-story in the news (after yesterdays big piece confirming the search-giants acquisition of RSS management company Feedburner, broken by TechCrunch): Google has announced a closed beta test of Adsense for Video. TechCrunch’s Duncan Riley writes that it consists of “in-stream” advertisements and that publishers define at what point the advertisements will appear for each video. Riley describes it as s a change in the right direction for Google: “The previously announced advertising trials for YouTube consisted entirely of text advertising overlays that lead to video-on-video click to play advertisements; a form of advertising that can easily be ignored by the viewer,” he notes.
However Andy Beal, writing at MaketingPilgrim, is more cautious: “I can see there being a demand among those companies that publish a lot of their own video content, but not sure how well this service is going to scale. If they’re relying solely on third-party publishers of video content, Google may not make a lot from this new channel,” he notes.

A third story on Google today (and a fast climber at Techmeme.com) is Robert Scobles post at Scobelizer noting that Fear of Google (FOG) might be changing to Distrust/Disdain of Google. According to Scoble, Google has become to close and secret, he challenges the company to invite regular bloggers to let them talk to the engineers so they can see what the engineering intent is when they are doing things that are tracking us.

Are the protein-drinks at Mountain View overdosed or just right? Stay tuned.

By John Furrier and Tina Magnergard Bjers

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