Thanks to a new product launch, as many as 65 or 70 million people should now find conducting Google searches from their mobile phones a much less difficult process. This week, Cantonese Voice Search debuted in Hong Kong.
A post on the Google Research Blog explained the need for this development. "People in Hong Kong typically use either ‘Cangjie’ or ‘Handwriting’ input methods. Cangjie has a steep learning curve and requires users to break the Chinese characters down into sequences of graphical components. The Handwriting method is easier to learn, but slow to use. Neither is an ideal input method for people in Hong Kong trying to use Google Search on their mobile phones."
Also, "Speaking is generally much faster and more natural than typing." And "some Chinese characters . . . are used so rarely used that people often know only the pronunciation, and not how to write them."
So Cantonese Voice Search is meant to address these issues, making things easier on users. It might be considered a "thank you" to Hong Kong’s citizens following the whole mainland China censorship/server switch affair.
Of course, Google isn’t likely to complain if Cantonese Voice Search attracts a few new users at the same time.
Google intends to move forward with its work on other Chinese languages, too.