Google with Local Flavors: Google Suggest, Gmail Labs, Google News
Article by George Norman
On 01 Apr 2009
Mountain View-based company Google has rolled out a few changes that are meant to address the localization needs of most users: the autosuggest feature in Google search will take you current geographical position when throwing suggestions your way, Gmail Labs features will get extended language support, and Google News launched local news for users outside the US.

Google suggest is the feature that throws potential matches at you once you start to type in a query in the search box. I find it useful as it saves time, prevents spelling errors, and reveals what users are looking for (like the fact that several hundred thousand queries were related to users being extremely terrified by Chinese people). Until now these suggestions were universal, they did not have a local flavor – well, no more.


Product Manager David Kadouch explains: “Today we're happy to announce the international launch of Google Suggest. We've localized our suggestions to account for various cultural and local factors to offer suggestions that look familiar to our users. Google Suggest now covers 155 domains in 51 languages. Special thanks go to the Suggest team in Israel for their hard work in making this a reality.”

The Labs feature in Gmail comes with a host of handy and useful options, such as the recent option to preview multimedia content and add an Undo Send button to outgoing email. These experiments are available in English, but not in other languages – well, Google has addressed this issue as well.

Engineering Manager Pal Takacsi explains: “The majority of Gmail users are outside the U.S., so it's no surprise that since we launched Gmail Labs last year, people around the world have been asking for these experimental features in their local languages. You may wonder, since most Gmail features are available in almost every supported language immediately at launch, why Labs hasn't been. As of today, we're making Gmail Labs available internationally.”

Last but not least, Google News has enhanced its offering of localized news, option that was only available to US users, to people in the UK, India and Canada. “Local news sections let you keep track of current events in your area. We analyze every word in every story to understand what location the news is about and where the source is located. The top stories for a given area will be at the top of your results, and our rankings also take into account a publication's location to promote local sources for each story,” explains Associate Product Marketing Manager Hicham Alaoui.

Tags: Google, Google Suggest, Gmail Labs, Google News
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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