Google breaks down language barriers

By Tom Sanders on May 18, 2007 8:20 AM
Filed under Mobility

Cross-language search and query interpretation coming soon.

Google is preparing a future update of its search engine that lets users search content in any language.

The cross-language information retrieval technology uses software to translate queries into English. It then performs the search and translates the results back to the original language.

Arabic speakers, for instance, will be able to look for reviews on New York restaurants, even if such information is not natively available in that language.

The search giant showed off the technology at a company event at its corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California.

"As far as you are concerned, you search in your language," said Udi Manber, Google's vice president of engineering. "There is a better chance that you get good results."

Manber said that the technology will be launching "soon", but did not provide a projected launch date.

He also showed off a project that will try to interpret a user's search intentions instead of performing the query to the letter.

Google already assists users by performing a spell check on search queries, or suggesting alternative queries for probable mistakes.

The new design will stop prompting the user, offering results based on the query as the search engine interpreted it mixed in with the results for the query as it was entered.

A search for 'overhead view of the Bellagio pool', for instance, will be replaced with 'Bellagio pool pictures'. The Bellagio is a well known hotel in Las Vegas.

Google came up with the technology after it noticed that many users were unable to enter the correct query to find the information that they were looking for. Manber did not provide a projected launch date for the project.

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