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Facebook rolls out Hindi transliteration tool on Android app

Facebook Hindi

Facebook has rolled out a Hindi text editor in its Android app. The company said that this feature has been added based on feedback they have received from users wanting to type in the native Devanagari script instead of the Roman script.

When users turn on this Hindi editor a button appears on the bar used for typing comments and updates, which automatically transliterates Roman characters and provides suggestions for the appropriate Devanagari character. The most oft used suggestions get saved in the features memory, similar to how Whatsapp remembers the words/expressions we use the most and offers them as auto correct options. Transliteration isn’t always accurate and in such cases the user can directly type in the word they want in Devanagari.

It’s worth noting that in December last year, the Indian Cellular Association said that the Government will soon make it mandatory for all mobile handsets being manufactured or sold in the country, to come loaded with multi-language support feature. Apparently, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is working on finalising a set of standards that all phone manufacturers have to adhere to. These include a minimum of 4MB memory on all phones, out of which 2MB should be reserved for official Indian languages support. The devices should also support message readability in 14 scripts and 22 official languages, other than being able to support text input in English, Hindi and at least one other Indian language.

Increased adoption of Indic languages: The last twelve months have been especially encouraging for Indic language users, especially Hindi users, as companies have increasingly started offering their digital content in Hindi and other Indic languages:

– In December 2015, mobile messaging app Hike launched in 8 Indic languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu. Other than the multilingual interface, the app also features a multilingual keyboard letting users type in the supported 9 languages.

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– Earlier in the month, Quikr launched Indic language support starting with Hindi, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi and Gujarati languages. The same week, Snapdeal also  launched a multilingual interface on its mobile website, starting with Hindi and Telugu.

– At around the same time, Alibaba said it would launch a Hindi version of its website for sellers, while Khan Academy launched a Hindi website with math lessons. Catch also launched a Hindi version with exclusive and translated content.

– In November 2015, news curator app Inshorts launched a Hindi interface for its Android app. The same month, Truecaller started transliterating names to Hindi.

– The same month Google introduced voice typing and input for Google Docs on Chrome browser in Hindi and 39 other languages.

– In August, Way2News app launched with news snippets in Telugu, Hindi and English.

– In July, a website named FilmyFilmy launched that transliterates English to Hindi, after CarDekho launched its site in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu in May.

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– In March Govindraj Ethiraj’s IndiaSpend.com launched a Hindi site, while CouponDunia launched Hindi coupons.

Other developments at Facebook

– Earlier this month, Facebook updated its News Feed feature to ensure that users see stories they actually read, rather than stories they just like, click, comment on, or share. The company cites examples such as a serious current event that users might want to know, but might not ‘like’.

– Facebook also opened its Messenger Send/Receive API that supports bot development on its chat platform to all developers. The API can be used to provide various kinds of bots on Messenger, including for weather, traffic updates, shopping receipts, shipping notifications and live automated messages etc., which users can access by interacting with services that provide them.

– The social media major also started allowing promotions, videos or photos featuring third party products, brands, or sponsors that differ from the Page, end cards, product placement, posts that clearly disclose the content is sponsored or provided by a third party.

– Last month, Facebook announced that it had more than 142 million monthly active users (MAUs) in India, out of which at least 133 million MAUs accessed it through mobile phones. A total of 69 million users in India use Facebook, while 64 million of them access the website through a mobile device, on a daily basis.

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Read our Indic language wishlist for the Government. More on #NAMAindic here.

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