Yahoo India has added support for eight new Indian languages including Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi and Gujarati to Yahoo Mail as a part of Yahoo Mail’s simultaneous roll out in 27 new markets including 22 new languages and 16 new countries, according to a company announcement. The company claims that Yahoo Mail is now available in 46 new languages and more than 70 markets worldwide. It also added that Yahoo! Mail now reaches out to 42% of the Indian Internet audience.
Users who are interested to switch over to one of the above mentioned languages, can simply head over to Account Settings of their Yahoo Profile, add their preferred language and hit the ‘save’ button. However, we wish that Yahoo should have made the language switch accessible on the main landing page, atleast in the initial days.
– Cosmetic changes? Following this, Yahoo Mail offers its mail interface in your preferred language. For instance, if you choose Hindi, the company has translated options such as ‘compose message’ and ‘Sent messages’ to मेसेज लिखे and भेजे गए, while they have simply converted other terms like ‘Inbox’, Drafts’, and ‘Spam’ in Hindi. Sadly, it doesn’t allow users to send mails in Hindi/Devanagri script yet, making this launch a too little too late affair like the launch of Twitter’s Hindi version in September 2011, since one of its competitors, Google’s Gmail service already allows users to send messages in Indic languages.
Was it really needed? We are not too sure if a transliterated version of a mail service was needed. Ajit Balakrishnan, CEO of Rediff.com had said in 2008, that there had been no evidence from the last ten years of the Internet business that users want Indian languages, quoting an example of his own company which offers email service in 11 languages but 99% of the users still preferred to use email in English language. While initiatives like Robosoft’s Indic Android operating systems might help the proliferation of Indic languages in the country, half baked attempts like these, in my opinion, are really not necessary.