When it comes down to typing on a mobile device where English and some other languages are concerned, the experience is a breeze. This is due to English being a script-based system and the same can be said for Latin-based languages as well.
For the likes of the Chinese language, which is called Mandarin, it is mainly character based and as such, some folks may have a difficult time typing in the language on a mobile device with a touch interface.
The same holds true for Hindi, a language that is script-based, but it is more complex than others of the same format. With this in mind, Google has released a new keyboard for Android that allegedly makes it easier for Indians to type in their own language without much fuss.
The keyboard is available right now from the Google Play Store, and it is called the Google Indic Keyboard. Not the best of names, but who cares when it is for a relatively good cause.
The Google Indic Keyboard supports 11 Indian languages, which can be easily enabled after being downloaded from the store. The supported languages include, Assamese (অসমীয়া), Bengali (বাংলা), Gujarati (ગુજરાતી), Hindi (हिंदी), Kannada (ಕನ್ನಡ), Malayalam (മലയാളം), Marathi (मराठी), Odia (ଓଡ଼ିଆ), Punjabi (ਪੰਜਾਬੀ), Tamil keyboard (தமிழ்), and Telugu (తెలుగు).
To get this new keyboard up and running after download, go to the settings and enable it, then select the tab that says "Hindi" to switch over to the new keyboard. Should the user decide to tap on the Hindi tab a second time, a transliteration keyboard will appear.
There's also a handwriting input here, and guess what? It supports Devanagari. For those who are wondering, Devanagari is the alphabet used by Indians for Hindi along with other Latin characters.
Despite being faced with several challenges while developing this keyboard, Google stood tall and got the job done. It is so advanced that users can type in Hinglish. This is basically a mixture of Hindi and English coming together to form a language.
Typing in Hinglish is a regular thing for many Indians, so this was a nice touch by Google.
So far, the Google Indic Keyboard app has been downloaded more than 10 million times, and has a rating of 4.2 out of 5, so clearly the search giant has done something right.
When it comes down to whether or not Google will release a specialized keyboard for Mandarin, well, that's unknown to us, but it would make perfect business sense to do so. Who knows, going that route could improve Google's standings with the Chinese government. Google also launched a YouTube version for Pakistan just recently, further proving its efforts to play nice and serve as many people worldwide as possible.