Monday, March 15, 2010

Microsoft, Google slug it out in local languages

It’s difficult to say how many in India understand English. But it might be fair to say, as a Microsoft release recently did, that about 95% of the countrys population prefers working in their regional language. That means computing and the web, which is probably 99% English, is largely beyond the vast majority in this country.

This is increasingly being seen now as a huge opportunity. The biggest players in computing are creating applications and tools that make it simple to compute in the local language. For Microsoft, this means it can sell more of its Windows 7 or Office Suite. But as more and more of our activities move to the internet, its a fight with the likes of Google to see who can create the most acceptable applications for local language emailing, messaging, blogging, or social networking.

The attempt is also to help create more local language content. As Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, senior product manager in Google India, says, Unless this content is there, the value of search is diminished. And search, with its associated advertisements, is where Google today makes most of its money.

Full report here Economic Times

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