Google can translate, but tact will still be on you
Do you run to your smartphone to translate phrases when faced with a language you don't speak? Is Google Translate part of your usual app arsenal? You might want to keep your ear to the ground then, as Google seems to be preparing a real-time translation device.
Japanese culture? Awesome. Learning to speak or read Japanese? Awesomely challenging. For native english speakers, learning to read Japan hiragana and katakana script can be a painful, frustrating experience of the same order as putting together a set of Ikea shelves all by your lonesome. Luckily, Japanophiles needn’t fret over learning to read, thanks to Learn Kana, our Chrome Web App of the Week.
In a recent move ICANN decided it would be just fine if domain names used non-Latin characters. Since the inception of online domain names, all addresses had to be in the Latin characters most of us are familiar with (and that you are currently reading). The ICANN decision will mean addresses could use, for example, Russian Cyrillic or Asian characters. While this seems all well and good on the surface, there’s a problem lurking. It could let the bad guys run more effective phishing schemes.
A unicode font supports multiple languages simultaneously and can be a real help, but display a Cyrillic word in a Unicode font, and it may look completely different. It may even appear to be an English word. If you expect to be on a certain domain, you used to be able to just check the domain name. Did you expect to be on ‘amazon.com’, but instead the domain is ‘secret-hacker-site.com’? You might want to hightail it out of there.
With non-Latin characters about to start popping up in domain names, it might not be so easy to tell where you are anymore. Below, we see an example of how the Cyrillic characters for “raural” become “paypal”. If the domain appeared to be ‘paypal.com’, most people wouldn’t think twice about putting in their credit card number. A little concerning? Yeah, we thought so.
Christine Lindberg, a Senior Lexicographer for Oxford’s U.S. dictionary program says the word “has both currency and potential longevity. Lindberg notes “most “un-” prefixed words are adjectives (unacceptable, unpleasant), and there are certainly some familiar “un-” verbs (uncap, unpack), but “unfriend” is different from the norm. It assumes a verb sense of “friend” that is really not used (at least not since maybe the 17th century!).” Unable to resist the pun, Lindberg adds: “Unfriend has real lex-appeal.”
Other new technology-generated words in competition for the award were “hashtag,” “intexticated,” “netbook,” “paywall,” and “sexting.”
As it turns out, Google's been busy developing its own programming language called "Go," and on Tuesday, the search giant released what they've managed to build so far. As an open source project, the rest may be up to you.
To describe the programming language, Google reached into its bag of adjectives and came up with simple, fast, safe, concurrent, and fun. Typical builds take a fraction of a second but run nearly as quickly as comparable C or C++ code, Google clams. Go is also touted as being memory safe.
So what's it for? One of the things Go was designed to do is take advantage of multicore processors that can perform multiple tasks in parallel, as well as give programmers the ability to quickly write code.
"It seems it's getting much harder to build software than it used to be," said Rob Pike, a principal software engineer working on Go. "The process of software development doesn't feel any better than it did a generation ago. We deliberately tried to make a language that focused in part on rapid development, that compiles really efficiently, and that expresses dependencies efficiently and precisely so the compilation process can be controlled well. I find it much more productive to work in."
It's official - the Global Language Monitor, which analyzes and tracks trends in language, has dubbed "Web 2.0" as the one millionth word. To qualify, potential words must appear 25,000 times in searches and be widely accepted. Web 2.0 fit that criteria, beating out Jai Ho, Noob, Slumdog, and Cloud Computing (among others) as the millionth English word or phrase.
The list has some linguists up in arms, who dismissed the whole thing as nothing more than a publicity stunt.
"I think it's pure fraud. I'ts not bad science. It's nonsense," Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguistics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, told reporters.
His and other similar opinions didn't seem to phase Paul JJ Payack, president of the Global Language Monitor, who insisted that his method has merit.
"If you want to count the stars in the sky, you have to define what a star is first and then count," Payack said. "Our criteria is quite plain and if you follow those criteria you can count words. Most academics say what we are doing is very valuable."