Google has added a new feature to it’s search functionality that makes it easier for non-English speaking users to type in queries when faced with a foreign language keyboard.
Local versions of Google now offer a “virtual keyboard” lets users type directly into the Google search box using their own local language script.
I don’t know if you have ever travelled abroad and tried to use a non-English keyboard, but I often found myself cutting and pasting search phrases into the search box when faced with a mysterious keyboard. Even the simplest of tasks are a nightmare: how many of you can reliably find the @ sign on a French keyboard?
Can you imagine the difficulties faced by an Arabic or Hindi or Polish visitor when faced with an English keyboard?
Polish speakers using a UK keyboard will need to use a series of control characters to display their specially accented character sets. The new virtual keyboard means they can enter these diactritics by using the click of a mouse.
This triggers a virtual keyboard displaying the special character sets:
And of course for Arabic speakers:
Keyboards are available in Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Basque, Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Finnish, Galician, Georgian, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Kazakh, Kirghiz, Macedonian, Malayalam, Mongolian, Persian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swedish, Tatar, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Uzbek.