"My boyfriend lives in Memphis and I live in Manhattan. We've each created a custom gadget for each other that we update every morning. Generally it's a compliment, or song lyrics, or something related to an inside joke. It takes us 2 minutes to update every morning and helps us to stay connected in a small way every day. We also both have a countdown gadget on our homepage, which counts down the days until our next visit with each other. Thank you for helping 'keep the magic alive' with my boyfriend, even if he's not here in person!"
"Gmail is the new Cupid. Gmail's green chat light meant 'go' for love in my life. My girlfriend and I used ... it for projects and homework at first, but then for flirting, pinning down a location for a first date, emoticon hearts and more."
"My husband and I met in 2004. He's from Macedonia and I'm from the USA...Since we met, Gmail has been archiving our long-distance relationship from the beginning! It's very sweet to be able to read those messages that we wrote to each other 3 years ago."
We recently made our machine translation technology accessible from within Gmail and Google Talk, which gives mail and IM users instant access to translation capabilities at the point where they might most need them, e.g., when communicating with friends and colleagues around the world. If you find yourself wanting to translate a few words or short phrase, you can IM an appropriate chat-bot to obtain an immediate translation. As an example, the Google translation bot for going from English to Chinese is available as firstname.lastname@example.org. In general, translation bots are named using two-letter codes for the source and target language.Surfacing machine translation in this manner is a great example of how Web 2.0 mashups bring together useful services to create solutions that are bigger than the sum of their building blocks. I've blogged here in the past about the potential presented by web mashups for users with special needs. Using our work on AxsJAX to inject accessibility enhancements into Web applications, my officemate Charles Chen and I recently augmented Google Talk to produce appropriate spoken feedback when used with adaptive technologies such as self-voicing browsers.
The combination of machine translation, instant messaging and AxsJAX-enabled spoken output produces an interesting result that is obvious after the fact: when I use Google IM to message a translation bot, I now hear the result in the target language. This makes for a very interesting chat buddy -- one who can act as my personal interpreter!And let's not forget that little translate this page within Google search results. Next time you find that some of the documents in your search results are non-English, try clicking on that translate link. You'll be able to specify the source and target languages to obtain an automatically generated translation. A nice thing about the translated page is that when you follow any links from that document, the newly retrieved document will be automatically translated. Thus, if you find an article in German that matches your query and you're an English speaker, you can translate from de|en (that's German to English using two letter language codes) and as you read the translated English version, following links from that document will result in their being automatically translated to English.