In Douglas Adam’s iconic Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a universe teeming with billions of languages and dialects understand each other thanks to the Babel fish. The fish is inserted through the ear, whereupon it “feeds on brain wave energy, absorbing all unconscious frequencies and then excreting telepathically a matrix formed from the conscious frequencies and nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain, the practical upshot of which is that if you stick one in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language: the speech you hear decodes the brain wave matrix.”
Such a creature may not have evolved on earth as yet, but until then, we have Google. The search engine giant’s popular “Translate” service completed six years earlier in April with the announcement that over 200 million people were using it every month.
And now the company is rolling out Automatic Translation from the Gmail Lab and making it a permanent feature of Google’s popular email service. This will allow users to convert emails they receive in other languages into English.
In an official blogpost on the Gmail blog Jeff Chin, Product Manager of Gmail wrote:
Since message translation was one of the most popular labs, we decided it was time to graduate from Gmail Labs and move into the real world. Over the next few days, everyone who uses Gmail will be getting the convenience of translation added to their email. The next time you receive a message in a language other than your own, just click on Translate message in the header at the top of the message.
In addition to this two other Labs features are going to be added to Gmail. The first is Title Tweaks which will change ensure that users that see clearly if they have new messages in their inbox in the browser tab. According to Google’s blogpost:
The tab now reads “Inbox (20) – firstname.lastname@example.org – Gmail” instead of “Gmail – Inbox (20) – email@example.com.”
This is the third feature to be added Gmail: Smart Mute. This one will prove to be a boon to all those who have the misfortune of bearing long, never-ending email threads thanks to being part of a Google group.
Overall it looks like the new Gmail overhaul could add some zing to Google’s popular email service.