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Google Seeks to Incorporate Non-Latin Languages


Do you have the email address you want? If you do, you are one of the lucky few. These days, most people have to employ numbers, symbols, or underscores in order to create a unique address for themselves, not to mention the fact that so much of the Internet is in English – at least, written in Latin characters.

Google plans to change that. In a blog post dated August 5th, Google announced that Gmail (and soon Google calendar) will recognize accented and some non-Latin characters. “Less than half of the world’s population has a mother tongue that uses the Latin alphabet,” the post states, “And even fewer people use only the letters A-Z.” Now a Gmail account allows users to send and receive emails from addresses with those special characters, and soon it will also be possible to use those characters to create Gmail accounts, an obvious and important step to enable users of the Internet in developing regions of Asia and Africa.

The announcement mirrors Google’s other projects that strive to make Internet access universal. Removing obstacles to Internet access around the globe – whether they are geographic, political, or linguistic barriers – is good business for Google, as more users mean more clicks and higher revenues. Fortunately, the access to information that is possible through connecting to the Internet will also lead to high quality-of-life for millions around the world.

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley, former CTO of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), is Founder and CTO of Crucial Point LLC, a technology research and advisory firm providing fact based technology reviews in support of venture capital, private equity and emerging technology firms. He has extensive industry experience in intelligence and security and was awarded an intelligence community meritorious achievement award by AFCEA in 2008, and has also been recognized as an Infoworld Top 25 CTO and as one of the most fascinating communicators in Government IT by GovFresh.