Google Brushes Up On Right-To-Left Languages

    February 27, 2008

Google makes important language updates pretty frequently, so we weren’t surprised to see another one turn up.  Google’s gone a step beyond simple translations, though, and is dealing with the alignment of text.

Google had already allowed for the right-to-left style of writing used by Hebrew and Arabic.  But on the Official Google Blog, Josh Daniel announced, "If you’re searching from a supported local interface (e.g. or we now dynamically detect the direction of your query."

This should allow speakers of different languages – whether it’s actually one person or many – to more easily use a single search engine.  As an example, Daniel writes, "Enter a query like [???? ????] or [???? ????] and your query will align right so you can type to the left.  Enter a query like [2008 world cup soccer] or [(5 – 3) * 32] and it will align left so you can type to the right."

Google seems to have overcome some significant programming challenges in order to enable this bidirectionality.  And considering that at least one of the links to Daniel’s post is in a language I can’t read, it appears the effort is already paying off.