Google Integrates Automatic Translation into Gmail

Not exactly a stunning technical development, but still pretty interesting: Google has gotten around to integrating their translation tools right into Gmail through their labs section. Once the “Message Translation” plug-in is activated Gmail will detect if an email is not in your default language and will automatically give you the option to translate it. You can see the “Translate message to:” option in the screen shot below:

autotranslate
Source: Google Gmail Blog

While they readily admit “it’s not quite the universal translators we’re so fond of from science fiction,” they do make a comment that I thought was pretty interesting:

“If all parties are using Gmail, you can have entire conversations in multiple languages with each participant reading the messages in whatever language is most comfortable for them.”

This is an interesting concept, and certainly for any non-mission critical exchanges will be quite handy – although I have to wonder what some of the quoted text further down in the email will look like after multiple runs through the machine translation system. I’ve found in the past even once through the grinder and back can leave the text pretty mangled, who knows what several exchanges back and forth will leave it looking like.

Either way an interesting addition to the Gmail system and another tiny step towards knocking down the language barrier.

Translation lets Google’s "cat" out of the bag?

Read an interesting article this morning (via Lifehacker) about how it looks like Google may be readying a new version of GMail.

How did they get the “scoop”?

As most will know Google allows it’s users to assist with and polish the translations it uses throughout their platform. Recently a user was logged in and doing some translation on the GMail UI and got prompted to enter a translation for “New Version” with supporting context text that said “Link that users can click on if they are part of the trusted testers program to go to the new UI”.

Oops.

Click here to see the story/screen capture.

Google just doesn’t seem to want to play nice with itself….

I’d love it if someone from Google could provide a rational explanation for this.

The other day I needed to update my AdSense contact email address. I recently got my personal domain accepted into the Google Apps (Beta?) so I could now run all my family accounts on the GMail platform.

Head scratcher #1: You can’t use underscores “_” in email addresses on the Gmail platform. Unfortunately the public address I use has one so I had to change it.

Coincidentally this address was the one I used on AdSense. No problem, emailed Google explained the issue and asked them to forward to my un-underscored address.

Head Scratcher #2: The response I got…

Thanks for your email requesting a change to your AdSense login. When I researched our records, I noticed that your email address at me@mydomain.com is associated with a Google Account. Unfortunately, I’m not able to update your AdSense login to a Google Account or a Gmail address because our system doesn’t support this type of change at the moment. I sincerely apologize for the trouble this causes you, and I thank you for bearing with us as we work hard to extend this option to AdSense publishers in the future.

I can, however, update your AdSense login to a non-Gmail address or any other address not associated with another Google product. You can simply reply to this email, providing the desired email address in the body of your response, and I’ll take care of your request as soon as I’m able.

I was half temped to respond with a “You’re kidding me right?”.

Can anyone out there even begin to explain this to me?

What the heck are they smoking down in Mountain View?

EDITED TO ADD – Headscratcher #3:

Got a second response. I forgot that at some point I associated my work email with a Google Account too. So not only can AdSense not use any Gmail powered address but they also can’t use any email address that is connected to Google in any way whatsoever. I’ve got one last email that I *think* I haven’t created a Google Account for in the past – if not I guess I’ll have to go create a Yahoo account and go from there. Brilliant.