Having spent a couple of decades growing up without all this newfangled mobile technology, I find it endlessly amusing that you no longer need to know anything; just “Google it”. In that sense, the internet’s almost like external storage for your brain.
Similarly, Google wants to make things easier for us unilingual idiots, with an app that enables a real-time, local, screen-based conversation with someone else in an entirely different language. Sacré bleu!
In a nutshell: “A system and related techniques for communicating in different languages between two users on a mobile computing device is provided.”
Essentially we’re looking at a multiplayer version of Google Translate, with the screen split into two – one for each person/language. Google specifically mentions a “tablet computer”, but there’s no reason – in theory – that the technology shouldn’t work on massive phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Motorola Nexus 6.
Question the first: Who is this aimed at? Tourists? As if the idea of walking around taking pictures with a tablet wasn’t ridiculous enough, we’re now expected to stand in the street and invite strangers to grab the other half of our Nexus 9 or whatever?
And we’re immediately concerned about receiving a thumb to the eye as our very expensive tablet is liberated from our hands. Would insurance cover theft if you literally placed the device in the offender’s hands?
Furthermore, these translation things are still at a relatively early stage, with many phrases being translated literally. It’s incredibly hard to “teach” a computer a language, what with the countless nuances.
Nah, we’ll stick with our trusty pocket phrasebook for now. Dos cervezas grandes, por favor.