Does Google solve the Indic Keyboard?

Ability to key in the Indian languages using the qwerty keyboard or any kind of other online keyboards is a big pain. Many people are trying to solve this issue for long time now. Though there are many solution in existence, none of them is simple enough or intuitive enough. Now Google has come up with a way to key in the vernacular text into the browser and search the web.

Most of the vernacular keyboards are not very useful in terms of usability. Many of them rely on phonetics, while those that have a visual keyboard are too cumbersome to use. I came across this post on the Google blog which introduces a Google gadget Indic on Screen Keyboards. This was developed at the Google Labs India.

On the Plate

  • The online keyboard is a pleasure to use.
  • It is very intuitive, and by far the most easiest keyboards for Desi languages. (My Mom can use it). You just need to hover over the main vowel or consonant to find the rest of the alphabets. Once you get used to the keyboard, there is no looking back.
  • It's available in 11 Indian languages (অসমীয়া (Assamese) | বাংলা (Bengali) | ગુજરાતી (Gujarti) | हिंदी (Hindi) | ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada) | മലയാളം (Malayalam) | मराठी (Marathi) | नेपाली (Nepali) | ଓଡ଼ିଆ (Oriya) | ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (Punjabi) | संस्कृतम् (Sanskrit) | සිංහල (Sinhala) | தமிழ் (Tamil) | తెలుగు (Telugu))
  • It can tackle some of the difficult to type words like "Krishna" with elan in Hindi.
Loop Holes
  1. Rendering in Firefox is not legible and has some glaring mistakes. It was perfect on IE7.
  2. There are no numbers on this keyboard.
Wish List
  1. A physical qwerty keyboard mapping. A very big challenge, but I am sure the goggler's will eke out a solution.
  2. Ability to use this gadget as a text editor.
  3. Use the above generated text in notepad and other text editors.
I see this as the first step in a great direction. Watch out for more developments in this area.
I am excited about this development. What do you folks feel on this new design approach?
Do drop by your thoughts.
Go to India Web 2.0: Search Google in 11 Indian Languages

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Nilesh Trivedi said...


I have been using the Indic IME extension for firefox for last two years. It lets me input transliterated text in all indian languages.

The extension is also available for Thunderbird so its not restricted ton online usage alone.

Unknown said...

I used Indi IME extension. It does a very good job.
My whole concern is with transliteration itself.
It is of not much use to people who don't know english.

Anonymous said...

Hey guys,
but to me the InScript keyboard seems the simplest alongwith unicode ( The seems the best and most standard way to type directly in INDIC languages. It works for Windows, Linux and the Mac (not tested myself). Check: