More languages in Google sites, but is it localization

By | 9:29 AM Leave a Comment
Here's a question I want to ask Google. Is language the only difference between cultures? Why is Google in 38 languages such a big deal? Is it because they think that if Google sites were in multiple languages then people all over the world would be able to use Google sites with the same ease ....

WRONG! Usability is not just about the language of the site. It depends on a lot of other things. Yes language is probably the main barrier to remove but still, you will not get adoption as you could if you designed the site for that region. The big question to ask is - Is the site's "look" what you want to associate with the company or is it the site's "use". Because I see the Google search bar has been used in 38 languages and its great. But do all people all over the world search the same way? I doubt it.

Why is Google spending millions on usability tests (Im assuming its millions) but testing their sites primarily on American users? The rest of the world do not think and act like Americans. So please do these tests with other users and understand that people respect the use and not the looks of the site.

Back in the days when the Internet spread to outside America, Yahoo was the biggest site and what they did was right because people accepted it. Is Google following Yahoo in this respect ... I wonder.

The facts are there to prove that Google's "minimalistic" interface is not winning in every region in the world. China, France and Brazil are regions where Google's search is not a majority. Yes, Google has dominated the search market because they were better than Yahoo, not because they did the best for every region. So I am sure that if there's a regional player which starts innovating from ground up and incorporates the use of the site the way the people in that region are comfortable in, Google will find it really difficult to penetrate that region (unless of course they go and buy that company out).

Rediff is one of those companies always striving to find out what the "Indian" internet user wants. Its editorial section proves that they have succeeded in that domain at least. Google news, Indiatimes, Yahoo have all tried to grab the online news market, but have not been able to dent Rediff's dominance. The reason is simple, Rediff editorial understands what an Indian online news reader wants. Hint: its not exactly the same news that he/she gets offline.

That's where websites can make an impact in the years to come. I believe smaller and smaller sites will make very local, region specific innovations that resonate with its people and no amount of brand building can take away that crowd, provided its useful. This is great news because it will fuel innovation in the right direction. There are far too many me-too Indian sites out there trying to replicate the success that their American counterparts have achieved. Its time to better that.

Official Google Blog: Google Sites now in 38 languages