Microsoft has updated its Indic Language Tool for web browsers and the offline desktop version but it very obviously is still in Beta or pre-release stage, though available to the public. We had previously reviewed it in its limited tech preview where we said that it was just too tedious for the average user to begin. That point still holds, even with the public release of Microsoft Indic Language tool.
The tools can be called a Windows update rather than an application or product per se, since it works with most applications installed and is part of the OS’s features. The company has taken notice of our advice and put up a Getting Started page which offers clear instructions on what settings to fix before setting up.
Installation Issues Continue: Netbooks?
Installing regional supplemental language support is necessary to set up the application, and it takes up 10MB or more of available disk space. Its installation was painful on my S10 netbook – it requires various DLL files to be installed from the original Windows CD – the netbook does not have a CD drive.
After downloading a few files off the net, having to abort the set up 5-6 times and then calling the company for tech support, I was finally able to install them but some font files were still missing
A usability tip: why not offer a choice of updating automatically online with some form of authentication? Finally, Bengali and Malayalam were loaded on the language bar and I tested them out on Word and notepad.
ToolBar Support With Search:
After installing the Hindi language transliteration support for Firefox, which was simple enough drag and drop procedure, we attempted to try it out with a few search engines:
The visual keyboard “to assist with editing words that do not transliterate properly” was not visible.
On Google search, the typed keywords are slightly hidden.
The option to type in Hindi only appears in the search engine’s main page and not for future searches – for example, after a search, if you want to perform another search in Hindi, then you would have to hit the Hindi button on your browser again.
Some words are still not recognised by the tools accurately and it avoids converting it into Hindi.
Note: The tool’s terms and conditions mentions that it “may use services from other companies that enable us to derive a general geographic area based on your IP address in order to customize certain services to your geographic area.”