The official Google Translate for iPhone app is now available for download from the App Store. The new app has all of the features of the web app, as well as some new additions designed to improve translation experience. The new app accepts voice input for 15 languages, and—just like the web app—you can translate a word or phrase into one of more than 50 languages. For voice input, just press the microphone icon next to the text box and say what you want to translate. You can also listen to your translations spoken out loud in one of 23 different languages. This feature uses the same new speech synthesizer voices as the desktop version of Google Translate introduced last month. Another feature is the ability to easily enlarge the translated text to full-screen size. This way, it’s easier to read the text on the screen, or show the translation to the person you are communicating with. Just tap on the zoom icon to quickly zoom in. And the app also includes all of the major features of the web app, including the ability to view dictionary results for single words, access your starred translations and translation history even when offline, and support romanized text like Pinyin and Romaji. You can download Google Translate now from the App Store globally. The app is available in all iOS supported languages, but you’ll need an iPhone or iPod touch iOS version 3 or later. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-translate/
TransPerfect, the privately held provider of translation services, announced the release of a new iPhone application for translation, which is available free to users. The application is called TransPerfect TransImage and it provides real-time machine translation via the device’s camera for users who come across text they would like to instantly understand. Machine translation has not yet advanced to a point where it can replace a human translator for mission critical content, but it can be an informative tool for getting the gist of content in another language. TransPerfect’s iPhone application leverages OCR (optical character recognition) and MT (machine translation) technology to form an application that takes text within a picture and translates it automatically. The current version includes support for 49 languages. The free application is now available from the Apple iTunes Store. www.transperfect.com.
Charlie Sorrel has some thoughts over at Wired’s blogs.
Here’s a project I would love to do if I had the time–a face-off between Kindle, the iPhone, the Sony Reader, an eBook Technologies ETI-1, and a few other devices. Take a few book types–novel, textbook, graphical book, business document to begin with–and create a feature matrix and evaluation criteria. Also evaluate the e-commerce experience, the experience with public domain and other free content, and the experience of adding your own content. Write it all up, and keep it up to date.
eZ Systems announced support for eZ Publish running on Mac OS X Server v10.5 Leopard. In addition, eZ showed eZ Flow, a new extension for eZ Publish designed for media companies who need to build complex page layouts and pre-plan publication schedules to ensure a constant flow of rich content. Among other features, eZ Flow supports delivery of content to Apple iPhones. With support for the Mac OS X Server (which recently attained UNIX 03 certification), eZ Publish enhances the platform by providing an Open Source Enterprise Content Management System that enables organizations to create websites, intranets and extranets. Because content presentation is based on a template system, eZ Publish (and eZ Flow) can serve tailored content to mobile devices by using a template tuned for the devices’ display. For example, a template customized for Apple iPhones tunes the display of content to the iPhone display size and iPhone-specific user interface elements. http://ez.no/ezpublish
It was inevitable that the search market would rapidly expand into the mobile device market and the number of new and established vendors with options for your cell phone or PDA is a daily feast of reading. Combined with other new search options promising voice-enabled search, semantic search, search federating internal with Web and deep Web content, the possibilities for having search served up to suit anyone seem endless.
Tracking over 70 vendors with enterprise search offerings is plenty for me to focus on at the moment. However, as I read the publicity releases and descriptions inviting me to be briefed, in the back of my mind I know that business travelers need access to all kinds of enterprise content regardless of their locale. I worry that my skepticism about mobile search for enterprise content says more about my age than the technology. I might be thinking about struggling with tiny screens and buttons in less than optimal viewing conditions. But I am open to the possibilities and know it will become pervasive, as will all the other flavors of search.
Caution: before jumping into hot new offerings for enterprise search or any other technology, take a deep breath and think about some consequences of being that early adopter.
Security models for enterprise search in which content is being aggregated or federated from across numerous structured and unstructured content repositories is a very big issue, takes lots of planning, mapping, and time to deploy and test. Add the considerations of a start-up vendor dealing with your precious knowledge assets in a wireless world and you might think twice.
Recent CIO Research, CIO Vendor Report Card results for 52 top IT vendors broke out statistics in several areas. The responding audience ranked as their highest priorities two that would be very hard to judge for a new offering:
- (Vendor) Delivers on Promises
- Ongoing Support after the Sale and Implementation
Another statistic that was reported in the CIO Vendor Report Card was a measure of the likelihood that the respondent would be willing to recommend the vendor. This reminds us of a critical issue that early adopters of new products and technologies can’t easily resolve, finding recommenders or product case studies.
I don’t want to pick on mobile search especially; there is so much hot stuff coming down the pipeline that it is easy to get carried away. But a sign to take it slowly is when your own enterprise is struggling to keep up with new releases of products from known companies, and lags behind in fully exploiting technology you already have. The hottest “must haves” won’t even make it through initial deployment in this environment. Making certain that enterprise search is working well within the organization is a necessary and critical first step. Having a vendor with a track record and happy customers is a close second.
Today’s Wall Street Journal has 2 articles that relate to enterprise social computing: Instant Messaging Invades the Office, and iPhone Calls to Some Business Users. Our recent informal poll of Facebook users suggests they think instant messaging will be more dominant than some other “social software” in enterprises in the near future. The WSJ article indicates IMing is invading fast.
It is not surprising that iPhones, with their dramatically improved viewing experience, will find a lot more use in business environments. I love my Treo, but avoid viewing spreadsheets and using it with other web apps. The iPhone will make a huge difference to my interaction with our corporate information when I am out of the office. Of course, there are security issues, and no doubt other technical issues that may get in the way initially, but there is no going back. And if tomorrow’s numbers from Apple are less than expected they will merely reflect the initial velocity, not an inability to reach escape velocity.