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The Future of Digital (according to Google)

1 Mar, 13 | by BMJ

Richard Robinson, Director at Google, kicked off this year’s Technology for Marketing and Advertising event with a keynote presentation on the ‘Future of Digital’.

Project Glass

He reeled off some impressive statistics relating to three main areas of development:


  • There are currently 2.4 billion users of the Internet worldwide. This figure was 1.8 billion 18 months ago and is expected to reach 5 billion by the end of the decade. He described this growth as the ‘democratisation of technology’. more… upsets Google

23 Mar, 12 | by BMJ

Two friends of mine are about to buy a domiciliary care business, and over dinner the other week we discussed their website and how effective search engine optimisation can ensure it shows high in any Google search.

Before long we were lamenting Google’s business practices and commercial dominance, something I blogged about in late 2011. I had lots to say about this. Earlier that week I’d returned to work after a week’s holiday and learned that Google had de-indexed, apparently without notice.


Google Currents: Flipboard competitor launched

27 Jan, 12 | by BMJ

Google have extended their content offering by launching a much-rumoured Flipboard competitor, Google Currents. It’s a new application for Android devices, iPads and iPhones, that lets you explore online magazines, blogs and news sites through a clean, touch-friendly interface.

Google have worked with more than 150 publishing partners to offer full-length articles from more than 180 editions including CNET, The Guardian, Forbes, Saveur, PBS, Huffington Post, Popular Science and more. Content has been optimised specifically for smartphones and tablets, allowing users to navigate between words, pictures and video on large and small screens alike, even if you’re offline. more…

Google+ Pages finally unveiled for brands

11 Nov, 11 | by BMJ

Google+ Pages were announced on Monday, allowing companies of all sizes to post updates about themselves and their products or services. Similar to Facebook, people who follow a Google+ Page can comment on or share the company’s posts, creating running conversation threads. However, businesses can also set up Hangouts where they can chat directly with potential customers.


Google+1 buttons added to all BMJ articles

2 Sep, 11 | by BMJ

Following the release of Google’s new social feature, we have added Google+1 buttons to all BMJ and specialist journal articles.  If you’re unfamiliar with this functionality, it is basically a button similar to the Facebook “like”. When you click +1, you’re publicly recommending pages across the web. You can also use +1 to share with the right circles on Google+ (see more on this below).  +1’s can help improve Google Search too, since you can see which pages your social connections have +1’d beneath search results and ads.

Where is it found?
The Google+1 button on our journals can be found in the social bookmarking section of the navigation bar at the side of every article (see screenshot to the left). When you do a Google search you will also see the little +1 button next to each search result. You can then click this button to recommend search listings that you found useful. more…

Is Google+ the answer to keeping your personal and professional life separate online?

8 Jul, 11 | by BMJ

Google is taking yet another stab at social networking with Google+ after the past disappointments of Buzz and Wave. This time, however, they have launched a more polished product than usual and offer a solution to the problem of keeping one’s personal and work life separate. The interface and concepts are cleaner and simpler, which will make it easier for early adopters to engage, use and then share their experiences.

In its blog post to introduce Google+, Google’s Vic Gundotra said the following:

“Today, the connections between people increasingly happen online. Yet the subtlety and substance of real-world interactions are lost in the rigidness of our online tools. In this basic, human way, online sharing is awkward. Even broken. And we aim to fix it.”


Widening the Social Web: Google +1 and Facebook ‘Like’

3 Jun, 11 | by BMJ

Google started rolling out the ‘+1’ recommend button across its own portfolio and third-party web sites just a day after Twitter unveiled its new ‘follow’ button. Both releases are being viewed as direct competitors to Facebook’s popular ‘like’ button.

Central to an effort by companies to stake out their claim in the social-networking domain and encourage ordinary ‘surfers’ to be more engaged with their products, the tools also facilitate the collection of detailed user behaviour data and have obvious benefits for online advertising. The suite of Web 2.0 buttons featured on most websites has grown steadily over the past few years (you may well have noticed) and sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit are long-term residents. But the success of Facebook’s ‘like’ button has spurred others to get in on the game. Afterall, it is said to appear on more than a third of the 1,000 most popular websites and apparently the average media site integrated with Facebook has seen a 300% increase in referral traffic. more…

Lost in translation?

7 Jul, 10 | by BMJ

Earlier this year, Google Translate single-handedly improved the reputation and usability of automated online translations. Until then, online machine translation solutions (especially of the free kind) were marginally useful at best. Google Translate has changed that, largely by using a statistical approach to machine translation and by allowing users to help the system learn adaptively.

And with a service that allows millions of amateur translators to pour their translations into an open translation memory, Google hopes to change professional translation in the way that flickr and istockphoto have changed commercial photography. Online machine translation has the power to revolutionise communication by eliminating language barriers, bridging the gap between cultures, providing services and information to speakers of minority languages, and transforming global e-commerce by allowing even the smallest online vendor to serve the international market.

So, just how good is the output from Google Translate?

Well, it depends. Sometimes, it stinks. Other times it is quite effective. And some people even claim that there are instances that Google’s language translator can provide a translation as if a human translates it.

A lot of it clearly depends on the subject matter and language pair being used. For instance, a review of the system’s French abilities gave it a middling grade. The reviewer thought “that it’s ok to get the gist of it, but the grammar isn’t great and there are words missing here and there, also French words appear instead of English words in the translation.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement.

How does it work?

The BMJ journals are now all  compatible with Google Translate. To view one of our sites in over 50 different languages, simply type the URL into the relevant field on Google (see below).

You will then be directed to the same site, but it will have been translated in your language of choice. See an example of Evidence-Based Medicine in French below:

Google has recently added some nifty and useful features, with the biggest change being the addition of instant, real-time translations.  It’s actually quite amazing: you can type in complex words and see their roots as you type. It also allows you to craft sentences faster and more efficiently in other languages.

Google Translate’s two other additions are nearly as impressive. Another new feature helps English speakers pronounce and read non-roman languages (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Korean). Clicking “Show romanizaiton” will provide you a phonetic representation of the translation so you can read it off instantly. Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian aren’t supported yet. However, Arabic, Persian, and Hindi now have a feature that allows you to type out the words as they sound (in English) and convert them to native script.

Finally, Google’s added text-to-speech support for English translations: just click the speaker icon to hear your translation. Overall, these new features are a good upgrade to Google Translate, especially the real-time translations, which we think may change how people interact with the tool.

If you want to learn more, Google’s provided a video demoing these features:

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