Chinese-based startup Mafengwo is a website that provides content on all things travel-related. Aside from the website, one of the products that it has developed is Traveling Translator. The app serves to help users to get around despite language barriers. It contains all the frequently asked questions likely to come from a confused traveler, ranging from greetings, transport, ordering food etc. Simply tap on the questions you want to ask and show it to a native person.
Note that Traveling Translator doesn’t do simultaneous translation. All the content is already loaded within the app. In other words, you do not need internet connection to be able to use the app. I thought this is really helpful since most travelers will not have data access on the road anyway. There is also simple “simultaneous translation.” If you type in hello the app will return a “nihao” result. But it’s very limited, of course, compared to Google Translate.
A PR rep told me that the app gets its answers from its group of third-party translators who have pre-loaded their translated content into its database. This is why users can access the app and its content without having an internet connection. The team at Mafengwo took a year to collect all this translated content to be able to provide a useful experience for users even when offline. Because the content is translated by humans, it is far more accurate than machine translation. Traveling Translator is available in over 30 languages and has so far attracted five million downloads. The iOS version costs $1.99 while the Android version is free. Click here to get yours.
Microsoft is weaving insights from people’s Facebook friends into Bing results as part of the biggest revamp of the search engine since its launched three years ago.
A new version of Bing will be rolled out in the weeks ahead and was to be widely available in the United States in early June.
“Increasingly, the Web is about much more than simply finding information by navigating a topically organized graph of links,” said Microsoft online services division president Qi Lu.
“We’re evolving search in a way that recognizes new user paradigms like the growth of the social graph, and will empower people with the broad knowledge of the Web alongside the help of their friends.”
Google in January meshed posts from its social network into search results based on a similar belief that people value input from friends or others they respect.
The new version of Bing will feature a “social sidebar” that will list Facebook friends who may know something about a query topic, according to Microsoft.
For example, when handling a query about “Hawaii” Bing will check Facebook “likes,” photos and other public profile information to suggest people who could provide useful insights, according to principal development lead Sandy Wong.
“You’ll still see search results for Hawaii within the traditional Web search results,” Wong said while giving the example.
“But, now you’ll also be able to consider the advice of your friends who may know something about Hawaii.”
Microsoft said that Bing improvements include faster, more relevant results and cleaner pages that will include “snapshots” that tightly summarize pertinent information.
“People are using the Web to do things in the real world, and that’s a big change from where things were a decade ago,” said Bing senior director Stefan Weitz.
“And so the 10 blue links that search has been predicated on for the last decade no longer makes sense. Simply put, that’s not how you get things done.”
Google on Wednesday confirmed that it wants a new trial on the copyright portion of a legal battle being fought with Oracle in San Francisco federal court.
Jurors this week ruled that Google’s Android operating system for smartphones violated Java software copyrights but deadlocked when it came to the pivotal question of whether it constituted “fair use” that made it acceptable.
If Google’s use of copyrighted Java application programming interfaces (APIs) in Android was fair use, Oracle would deserve no damages from the Mountain View, California-based Internet firm under the law.
Google late Tuesday filed a motion asking U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup to declare a mistrial in the copyright phase of the trial and have both questions presented to a new jury in a retrial.
Alsup on Wednesday was presiding over a second phase of the trial devoted to claims by Oracle that Google violated Java patents in Android software.
Adding to the complexity of the case, Alsup has gone on record reserving the right to make the ultimate decision whether APIs can even be copyrighted. The judge told jurors to assume so for the sake of deliberations.
Oracle lawyers are proposing that both sides in the case leave the “fair use” question to Alsup rather than have a new trial.
Oracle’s challenge of Google in court over copyrights was an unusual tactic being watched intently in Silicon Valley.
In the fast-paced land of Internet innovation, it has been common for software writers to put their own spins on APIs that mini-programs use to “talk” to one another.
The jury concluded that Google infringed on 37 copyrighted APIs but it also agreed that Google demonstrated that it was led to believe it did not need a license for using Java.
Oracle accused Google of infringing on Java computer programming language patents and copyrights Oracle obtained when it bought Java inventor Sun Microsystems in a $7.4 billion deal in 2009.
Google has denied the claims and said it believes mobile phone makers and other users of its open-source Android operating system are entitled to use the Java technology in dispute.
The Internet titan unveiled the free Android operating system two years before Oracle bought Sun.