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Chinese, Korean, and 20 other languages come to Google's Gboard today
- Gboard now supports Chinese, Korean, and 20 other new languages. This brings the total supported languages to over 300.
- Many of the languages are already supported on the iOS app and were in the beta version of the Android app for a few months.
- With Android Go beginning to roll out to entry-level devices, Gboard will need to support as many languages as possible.
Google replaced the native Android keyboard with Gboard back in 2016. The new virtual keyboard app was highly praised for its integration of new features like Google search, image search, and GIF search built right into the keyboard itself.
But Gboard only came in U.S. English at first, and then slowly added more languages. Notably absent were Chinese and Korean, the former spoken by over a billion people as their first language.
Luckily, Google has finally added support for Chinese, Korean, and 20 additional languages to Gboard. Starting today, Gboard now supports over 300 language varieties, which covers 74 percent of the world’s population.
In the GIF below, you can see the Gboard in action translating Latin characters to Chinese, otherwise known as pinyin:
Chinese and Korean are, according to Google, the two most requested languages for Gboard. The languages have been supported on the iOS version of Gboard for some time now, and also within the beta version of Gboard for Android, but now they are getting a full rollout.
Google is also adding some lesser-known languages to Gboard, like Ndonga, Harauti, and Bislama. The company committed to adding even more languages in the future.
Interestingly, Google itself and the many apps the company created on the Google Play Store are unavailable to Chinese citizens. So even though Gboard now supports Chinese, most people in China using Android devices will not have access to it.
With the rollout of Android Go, a simplified version of Android designed to run on incredibly inexpensive hardware, people all over the world will be getting their first smartphone ever. It’s imperative that the software and its many apps support the wide variety of languages in places like Africa and India, or else they won’t understand how to use the device.