Congrats for the google team for coming up with an intuitive Tamil transliteration scheme.
– Tamil transliteration tools have so far been completely user dependent to specify the correct keys to achieve the desired spelling whereas google transliteration guesses the word like a mobile phone dictionary servie. So a novice user need not remember, learn the traditional tamil transliteration scheme before typing in Tamil.
– This can’t be used offline.
– May be they will embed this feature in other Google products too in future. But for typing in other websites and desktop applications we need to copy paste from the Google site again which is cumbersome. Also, if Yahoo and other big guys come with their own transliteration schemes, then the end user will be confused.
– Google guess work may be very useful for typing in mobile phones where we have limited keys and usually type only short messages, whereas in a computer we have enough keys it can be faster to type the correct keys than taking the time to pause and select the right word from the guesses. Also, this guess work will be tedious when you type long documents.
The system is self-learning the guess work from the words we choose. But this will mess up things for words involving ர, ற, ந, ல, ள, ழ, ன, ண.
1. For words involving ர, ற, ந, ல, ள, ழ, ன, ண we can get lot of different words for the same keystrokes and the Google suggestion is not always accurate. In these cases it is a pain to click on the word and to scroll down to pick the right word. Instead it can provide an option to use the down arrow key or page down key (instead of click) and press enter to pick the right word.
2. While new users will find it easy to use this service thousands of users who already use the traditional Tamil transliteration scheme, the Tamilnadu government specified Tamil99 keyboard users, Bamini keyboard users (mostly from Sri Lanka) and traditional Tamil typewriting keyboard users will find it difficult to use this Google service. I would highly suggest to include these keyboard layouts as a drop down option under Tamil tab in the Google transliteration service.
3. This can find more use if this could be made in to a Firefox extension which would work in all websites. Better still is if you could make it a desktop program so you can type in non-browser applications.
4. The self learning system is now browser cookie based which will not help users who switch between operating systems, browsers and computers in home and work places. So, this can be associated with Google username so one can use it anywhere without having to teach Google again and again.
I am not so excited to see this feature. Tools like these will not help Tamil online in the long run. What we need is a free desktop application that would work cross-platform and we need to include Tamil99 typing in school curriculum.