Do you face problems while navigating using Google Maps?? Have you ever wished that Google Maps was available to you in your native language?? Well, your wishes just came true. Google Maps have recently improved its discoverability in Indian languages with automatic translation. 

The recent feature will allow people searching for places in their native languages. Google has developed a model specifically aimed at transliterating the names in native language. Isn’t it cool?? Think how many more people can now easily use google maps and now even more less of “Pan wala” directions will be needed.     

About 75% of the entire Indian population interacts with the internet using their native language and several times they aren’t able to find places they are looking for while using Maps in their native language.

So, now, keeping in mind these issues, Google Maps is introducing automatic transliteration which will deliver a more intuitive language experience to the users. It will also enable search queries to find information in their own language.

What was the problem before? Why wasn’t it possible earlier? 

So, the main problem that was faced was that the names of almost all Indian places of interest in Google Maps are not available in native indian scripts, generally. Normally we have names in English that are combined with acronyms based upon Latin Scripts and also Indian language words and names. 

To work up with this situation a Transliteration system is required that draws characters from one script to another while considering the phonetic properties of the works as well.  

The software engineer of Google Maps elaborated how exactly this feature works. He said, “Common English words are frequently used in names of places in India, even when written in the native script. How the name is written in these scripts is highly impacted by the way they are pronounced. For example, एनआईटी, an acronym “NIT” is pronounced ‘en-aye-tee’, and not as the English word NIT. Accordingly by understanding that NIT is a common acronym from the region, Maps can take the correct transliteration. Previously, when Maps couldn’t comprehend the context of एनआईटी, it would rather show a related place that might be at a distance from the user. With this evolution, we can find the result that we want from the local language query. Besides, the users can see the names of their Places Of Interest in their local language, even when they do not at first have that information.”

The native languages that Google has built an ensemble of learned models to transliterate names of Latin script in India are:

  • Hindi, 
  • Bangla, 
  • Marathi, 
  • Telugu, 
  • Tamil, 
  • Gujarati, 
  • Kannada, 
  • Malayalam, 
  • Punjabi, and 
  • Odia

This move by Google is going to be very beneficial for a lot of Indian users and now they can very easily find places like doctors, hospitals, grocery stores, banks, bus stops, train stations, and other essential services in their own language. No more worrying about knowing English language to navigate Google Maps.