Google’s bringing instant Android text translation to India in 2016

india 1 billion mobile subscribers google startups apps translation
Google revealed a bevy of services bound for users in India within the next year at the company’s eponymous Google for India event in New Dehli on Wednesday, but of particular note was a system-wide translation feature for Android. Dubbed Tap to Translate, it lets users instantly decipher lines of text within any app while keeping said app in the foreground.

“With Tap to Translate you can copy text anywhere on your Android phone and instantly get the translation, right then and there — without ever leaving the app,” Google wrote in a related blog post. “No more copy/paste, no more app switching, just instant translations.”

Tap to Translate isn’t exactly new, per se. An early variation of it launched as part of the latest Google Translate app on Android 6.0 Marshmallow devices. Translate, however, by tapping into Marshmallow’s contextual selection functionality, can interpret individual words, phrases, or even paragraphs that you’ve highlighted within a given app. The translations appears in a dismissable pop-up on top of the app, and include the option to switch the translation language, and to play a computer-generated verbalization of the translation.

Google believes Tap to Translate’s launch elsewhere indicates that it will be well received by users in India. At the event in New Dehli, product management chief Caesar Sengupta said that many users in the region “translate between Hindi and English multiple times a day” and “[spend] lots of time copying messages from friends or colleagues, translating them, writing responses, translating their responses, and then pasting them back into an app.” Tap to Translate, he argued, could make the process dramatically simpler.

Tap to Translate will launch in India in 2016.

The concerted focus on India is part of Google’s emerging market strategy, and it views the nation as a sort of testing ground for new technologies that, if proven successful there, can be introduced in and scaled to developing nations elsewhere.

“We’ve realized that when we build products for India, they eventually make their way to a global scale,” said executive Sundar Pichai. “Given that India is on the cutting edge of the mobile revolution, we think that what we build in India will apply to many, many places.”

Tap to Translate is far from Google’s only India-first mobile feature. In the past year, it’s launched streamlined search, a sped-up, stripped-down Google search interface for slow cellular connections; Map Maker, a tool which crowd-sources the location of landmarks, businesses, and roads in Google Maps; an Indic Keyboard for Android, a virtual keypad that supports 11 languages and native scripts; and offline access for YouTube, Translate, and Maps. And Google’s bolstering connectivity in the region, as well. Next year, it’ll introduce Wi-Fi at hundreds of train stations across India, and will launch Project Loon, the company’s balloon-based mobile network, in conjunction with regional telecom operators.

The feature push has another motive: to bolster Google’s low-cost Android One smartphone program. The program, which sees Google partner with local handset makers to produce inexpensive (between $50 to $100) Android phones, has so far struggled to gain traction, resulting in sales of only 3 million devices across 19 countries and only 1.2 million in Android One’s flagship country of India. A Wall Street Journal report in November suggested Google would revamp the program in the coming months by removing previously stringent manufacturer requirements.

Movies & TV

Apple’s first original feature film reunites Bill Murray, Sofia Coppola

The Lost in Translation team of Sofia Coppola and Bill Murray will reunite with their A Very Murray Christmas collaborator Rashida Jones for On the Rocks, Apple and studio A24's first official feature together.
Mobile

Android vs. iOS: Which smartphone platform is the best?

If you’re trying to choose a new phone and you’re not sure about the merits and pitfalls of the leading smartphone operating systems, then come on in for a detailed breakdown as we pit Android vs. iOS in various categories.
Mobile

Join the Apple club with our complete guide to switching from Android to iOS

If Android simply isn’t cutting it for you anymore, then you might be considering Apple’s warm embrace. Here’s how to make the switch from Android to iOS without losing your contacts, sleep, or hair!
Mobile

Keep up-to-date with the best news apps on iPhone and Android

Are the days of traditional newspapers and broadcast news dwindling? With apps this good, maybe. Catch up on the latest headlines on any platform with the best news apps on iOS and Android.
Mobile

It’s back! Here’s how to switch to Twitter’s reverse chronological feed

Twitter has finally brought back the reverse chronological feed, allowing you to see your feed based on the newest tweets, rather than using Twitter's algorithm that shows what it thinks you want to see. It's easy to switch.
Mobile

Huawei in for a rough year as feds investigate alleged trade secrets theft

Huawei is also facing issues in the U.S., but it doesn't seem like that will end any time soon. According to a new report, the company is facing a federal investigation in the U.S. for allegedly stealing trade secrets.
Mobile

Want more power, but faster? This new charging tech claims it can deliver

Chunky power bricks and slow charging could be a thing of the past with GaNFast technology from Navitas Semiconductors. By using an alternative to silicon, GaNFast reduces power consumption and boosts output.
Mobile

Android Q: Everything we know so far about Google’s next mobile OS

Android Pie recently rolled out, but it's already time to look ahead to Android Q, the next version of Google's mobile OS. We've seen a number of rumors and leaks come out about the operating system -- here's everything we know so far.
Mobile

Turn to these apps to help you in your next hunt for a job

Looking for a job can be a stressful experience, but these days, a simple mobile app can help you to find and apply for jobs all over the country -- here are some of the best job search apps for iOS and Android.
Mobile

Sony is showing something off at MWC -- will it be the Xperia XZ4?

Sony may have released the Xperia XZ3 in the past few months, but already it's preparing to release a follow-up, the Xperia XZ4. We're learning plenty about the phone now some details have started to leak out, and it's getting exciting.
Mobile

Is this the first image of a Galaxy S10 being used in real life?

It won't be long now; With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Mobile

Do these Geekbench results accurately represent the Moto G7?

The Moto G6 range is still relatively new to the market, but rumors have already started about the Moto G7, which is expected some time in 2019. Apparently, a G7 Power version will be joining the G7, G7 Play, and G7 Plus.
Wearables

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.
Mobile

Learn how to play YouTube in the background on iOS and Android

We show you how to play YouTube in the background with apps such as Opera, Chrome, and Firefox -- along with the premium offerings like YouTube Premium -- whether you have an Android or iOS device.