Google+ is kind of the nerd in the social media sphere; everybody has an account there, because they were forcibly added by Google, but few people use it on a regular basis compared to Twitter or Facebook. Still, it’s finding a niche as a professional service, halfway between Facebook and LinkedIn, and it’s often a test bed for Google’s more out there and innovative online stuff.
So the fact that Google is rolling out a “Translate” button for Google+ is kind of a big deal. And, in fact, the tool itself is pretty impressive: It’s an in-line tool that will translate both actual posts and comments.
It’s worth noting that this still has the same problems as Google Translate does as a website. You’re still going to get absolutely insane translations that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. But, on the other hand, you’ll be able to get those iffy translations faster and more efficiently! It works like this: When you see a comment or a post in a language other than your browser is set to, click a button and it translates.
Yep, that’s it. We tested it out and it’s surprisingly quick and effective, especially compared to translating whole webpages, the previous option. Being limited to Google Plus helps, not least because the translation doesn’t trash the formatting of the website.
That said, we’ll want to see how this is applied to websites that aren’t owned and run by Google. As we mentioned, one of the problems with Google Translate is the fact that it can make websites absolutely illegible. Fixing those HTML issues will probably be the first step to having a fully effective universal translator for the web.
And the next will be removing all YouTube comments. Not for language reasons. Just… YouTube comments need to go.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.