Google’s Instant Translators Could Become The Universal Tongue
Google likes to create things that gather data, which can be used to determine intent and for all kinds of profitable purposes. Basically all Google services collect some data about us. But there’s no bigger fish in that pond than the Babel fish – that invention of Douglas Adams’ in his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series that instantly translates one language to another to make communication seamless. This way Google would be processing literally everything a person says to another (at least while travelling), which adds up to a lot of valuable data.
Google is working on exactly that kind of invention, according to a report from The Times today. Hugo Barra, Google’s VP of Android Product Management, told The Times that Google plans to make real-time translation devices that will translate language for simple conversation across language barriers. Already the system is “near-perfect” between some languages, Barra says, especially in environments where there is no background noise to confuse the input detection.
Google already offers Google Translate, which offers text translation, as well as entire webpage translation on the web. The goal now is to make instant back-and-forth conversation translation a practical, usable reality that can make it possible for someone to accomplish everything they need to in an unfamiliar language without learning a lick of it. As with most sci-fi staples, however, Google says this is likely still several years away from becoming a shipping product.