On Tuesday, Google announced the release of the localised version of Google Maps in Hindi for both Android and the web interface for desktop. The new Google Maps will show its users the names of cities, main roads and points of interest in Hindi alongside their names in English, thus providing a very important part of the population in India and around the world the possibility of accessing the services. Google’s latest move is in accordance with its policy of collecting knowledge and making it accessible to people all over the world regardless of the language they speak.
India’s Linguistic Diversity
Suren Ruhela, Google’s Director Product and Program Management, stated that the company’s aim is always to eliminate geographical boundaries. However, he also recognised that, given the linguistic diversity present in India, where approximately 30 languages are spoken by more than one million native speakers, they still have a long way to go. Linguistic diversity in India is one of the main reasons why the default language is still English, one of the country’s official languages, which acts as lingua franca among Indian citizens.
Striving for Accuracy
Regarding the use of both English and Hindi names in the Google Maps Hindi version, Ruhela stated that the company decided that keeping the names of locations in both languages would ensure absolute clarity for the users. Google is also encouraging native Hindi speakers to try the Hindi version of Google Maps and report any bugs or mistakes they find in the use of the language so that Goggle Maps in Hindi can be as accurate and reliable as possible.
In order to see Hindi labels in your cellphone or computer, you need to choose Hindi as the preferred language on the device you are using. In the case of computers, the language can be changed by accessing the Google account settings. In the case of mobile phones, the language can be changed by choosing Hindi from the Language and Input menu in Settings.
Bear in mind that, for now, only those devices running Android 4.3 and upwards will be able to use Google Maps in Hindi. However, Ruhela has stated that Google is looking into integrating devices which are running older versions of Android. Moreover, he added that they want to make localised versions of Google Maps available on App Store, Windows Phone Store and Blackberry World.