This one has been late in arrival, but has the potential to change the way the Internet is accessed by the masses in India: a web browser with a ready to use Hindi interface called i-Browser++ has been developed by engineer Jagdeep Dangi from Madhya Pradesh, reports Katonda.

The i-Browser++ is not the first attempt at a Hindi browser as the developer might claim but may be the first truly successful one. CDAC had attempted two such browsers – Darpan and Pragati – but information on both is not available any more. Other browsers such Firefox (available in Telugu, Punjabi, Kannada, Hindi, Gujarati, Assamese, Bengali and Arabic) do not commit entirely to being localised: their interfaces remain in English, they only translate (or in some cases, perform transliteration) of the websites being browsed.

Features

The i-Browser++ has all the functions of regular internet browser like pop-up blocking, auto history viewers, etc and most of its features are similar to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

New features of the browser include English to Hindi translators and dictionary. Users can click on any English word and the browser will change. Other interesting features are text highlights and Unicode based Hindi writing with which a user can search Hindi content from the web and even write e-mails in Hindi and send it using any mail client.

A demo version with limited features of the browser is available here.

According to Dangi, the software has two types of translators, a local and a global word translator with a built in dictionary of more than 38,500 words to which a user can keep on adding. He also added that the software was primarily for Hindi speaking people but can be developed for other regional languages also.

Language Conversion: Prakhar

Dangi has also developed ‘Prakhar’, a bundle of two software packages called Prakhar Devanagari Font Parivartak and Prakhar Devanagari Lipik for converting languages.

Font Privartak will allow users to convert any text in the Devnagri script like Hindi, Marathi and Sanskrit in the various ASCII/ISCII (8 bit) fonts into Unicode (16 bit) text: Dangi claims the accuracy is 100 percent.

Prakhar Devanagari Lipik is a word processor that will allow users to type in Hindi and English in a single page without having to change fonts or keyboards.

The Need For An Indic Language Browser

An internet browser in Hindi will help in internet penetration to the rural areas of India, coupled with Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) announcement in October to allow domain names in non-Latin script. What would be more interesting, is if a mobile version of the browser is developed as there are more mobile phones than PCs in India, and mobile phones have penetrated large rural areas in India.

Google also has been developing its transliteration tool and had launched Google Transliteration IME with support for 14 languages, including many Indian languages.

Related:
ICANN To Approve Non-Latin Domain Names; Issues & Implications
Panini Tries Predictive Indic Language Keypad For Mobile
Rediff Incorporates 9 Indic Languages Into Upgraded RediffBlogs
Microsoft’s Indic Language Tools: Why Bother?
Quillpad Launches Mobile Transliteration Tool: A Review

The i-Browser++ has all the functions of regular internet browser like pop-up blocking, auto history viewers, etc and most of its features are similar to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.