Gabbing globally a la Google

Google got a lot of press last week for a bevy of new initiatives, including maps that show satellite images of the street where you live to Larry Page's revelation that the company would soon begin an "experiment in video blogging."

One new upgrade, however, debuted without much notice--except among the wordies of the world: Google Definitions has gone multilingual. It's not clear exactly how many languages the service offers--at the very least, a quick passeggiata shows, they include English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.

One German-English translator was quick to put the service to the test, trying it out on a central word from Bavarian culture, "bratwurst." She learned a couple of things. One, you cook up different results using the string "define bratwurst" (space, no punctuation) than "define:bratwurst" (no space, colon) and two, you can fry your assumptions about a word's origin.

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About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.

 

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