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Google Chrome in Indian languages

T. Ramachandran

It is possible to switch from one language to another


KOCHI: Google Chrome is now being offered in many Indian languages, with version 2 of the browser made available for download.

The stable version 2 comes in Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya (on Windows Vista alone), Tamil, and Telugu. A Hindi version was available earlier.

What this means is that PC users who have Windows Vista as their operating system should be able to easily select the browser’s interface language by using the language-setting options. It should also be possible to switch from one language to another by changing the language option and re-launching the browser. The users can then see the browser menus and other associated content in one of the Indian languages (or any of the other available language options).

Recent phenomenon

With Windows XP, the Indian language options are fewer, and font rendering might be an issue, if the user’s system is not primed for it. Asked about this, a Google spokesperson said: “Creation and consumption of Indian language content on the web is a relatively recent phenomenon. In some cases, the fonts get installed by default, and if not, Google tries to provide installation or downloading option through all our products.”

Chrome was launched only in September 2008, but it has garnered a small share of the browser market. In December last, a Google blog post claimed that in just 100 days, the initial (beta) version had built up a base of over 10 million active users worldwide.

Apart from its availability in several languages, speed was one feature on which there has been increased focus in the new version. Improvements had been made to get the browser to load up and render pages faster, Google claimed.

Stability is also another improvement being highlighted, with the fixing of “over 300 bugs that caused crashes since launch.” In the new release, Google also referred to the form autofill option, which enabled users to fill up form fields without having to input the same information in each instance.

However, this browser is not packed with as many features as some of the others are. And it might not fit your bill, if you are a heavy user of the kind of add-ons that are possible with Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer.

A modern platform

This has a lot to do with how Google has conceived the browser. It was “not just a browser but also a modern platform for web pages and applications.” The browser is based on open source software. It has been developed with Webkit, an open source browser engine, which was originally deployed for the Safari browser. The rendering of Javascript, a scripting language widely used in the Web environment, was also speeded up, Google said.

As for the release of the stable version 2 of the browser, Google itself said it did not give much weightage to version numbers, and these were “mainly a metric to help us keep track of changes internally.” For those already using older versions, the update ought to happen automatically.

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