Friday, February 19, 2010

Cool New Translation Tool Launched in Barcelona

This week lots of men and women in suits with funny pink name tags around their necks have been wandering the streets of Barcelona for the World Mobile Congress. Early reports suggest it's been another rip-roaring success and Barcelona has also secured the conference for another two years, keeping the mayor and the tourist office happy.

Some great things come out of the congress, such as Vodafone's launch of new very basic mobile phones which will cost as little as 15 Euros, and are planned to help connect poor countires such as Africa and other ciommunities which are not "connected" but need to be. There was also a funny alcohol breathaliser contraption you could attach to your mobile - allegedly marketed for "professional drivers" and not your everyday citizen who thinks they should be ok to take the car home after a few cheeky beers.

However, one of the best things I've seen for a long time was Google's announcement of the new translation feature through Google goggles. Google goggles is an image recognition service used through a mobile device's camera. At the moment, and as far as I can tell as I don't have it, you can point your camera to monuments like, say, the Eiffel Tower, and Google will tell you what it is. I know, I know - why do you need your phone to tall you what the Eiffel tower is? Bear with me.

So the cool thing is that Google showed an example of the goggles programme translating a German Menu into English - in real time - and by taking a photo of it. How cool is that, potentially?! I personally have been to cities in thw world and walked past restaurants that look great, but have no English menu (or any other language to try and guess) and always feel to silly to just sit down and hope the waiter can help me. This could spell the end for embarrassing orders from menus, and not even for restaurants, for example, the possibilities are endless. And obviously the potential for Google to cash in is huge, too, given that the application runs on Google's android system, and likely nothing else either.

Coming to Barcelona this month? Don't worry! The menus in the restaurants aren't that difficult to work out?! Also, check out these self-catering apartments in Barcelona, and cook in!! For a look at the main sights and help plan, check out this Barcelona Guide.


Anonymous said...

I had to go shopping to my local store. I live in a small town outside of BCN. For whatever reason, trucks, civil work, we couldn’t exit from the store for the moment.
Started talking, one cashier she is 47years old, other one 39. I’m 57. They use scanners for reading prices. Why the subject of Telex came up, don’t know, neither did they two. They didn’t know what a Telex was, either one of them. In Spain, till 1977 you needed a special permit from the Police (Franco’s Police) to operate a telex machine, or even read something from it. Then I read your post, how many changes in short time. Does anybody know what a Telex machine is

David Brydon said...

Thanks for leaving the comment.

It's amazing the little things that were so difficult under Franco's regime, and I can't imagine how different it must have been then.

And, no, I have no idea what a Telex machine is?!

your driver said...

Sorry, cliked the wrong box and came out as anonimous, proves how old we are in IT.
What’s a telex machine? I’ll have to ask my brother in law who works in Correos who had a Universal Pass during the Olympic Games in 1992, he could go into any venue and transit in any area of the Olympic Villa as a Telex Operator. His only clients where Indian and Pakistani journalists, only ones still on telex system back in the ‘90s.Today the Indians are the master of everything in software for internet.
Still can recall an office meeting to discuss if passing from a ticker tape machine to a brand new Olivetti showing message on a screen. Typically Spanish,costs kept us to ticker tape. Forget it, won’t explain what ticker tape was! By the way, let me look into my files and I’ll find an ASME approved list of abbreviations for use in telex, could be helpful for others. If you want to know what ASME is, look for it in Wikipedia.

David Brydon said...

Ah! great, thanks for the clarification Patrick, and you're already making me laugh with these comments, keep them coming!!

Must have been a cool gig for your brother in the '92 Olympics?! Free pass to everywhere! How the city has changed since then... I've been here 10 years and even during that time....


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