Use The Google!

A new Google Translate app is now available for iPhones, and it does an amazing job (a version for Android phones was released last month). You can dictate something in English and it will show up as text (or you can type directly), then you translate what you said into another language, which can then be spoken aloud by the app. It can work in the opposite way, depending on what language is being translated.

Google has so many good, free services. I use Gmail, Google docs, maps, the RSS Reader. I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s available. The search engine, of course, is the most important. It’s still incredible for finding stuff, but it is becoming polluted by companies that have learned search engine optimization, or SEO.Google has become so central in modern society that an industry has sprouted around SEO. Google tries to help websites perform better in the search results. But SEO is also where the polluting occurs. Search results get larded up by retailers and content farms. There’s money to be made and people will manipulate (cheat) their way to the top of the first page of Google results. The New York Times this weekend published an excellent inside look at the world of “black-hat” optimization. Here’s a telling quote from one practitioner:

“I think we need to make a distinction between two different kinds of searches — informational and commercial,” he said. “If you search ‘cancer,’ that’s an informational search and on those, Google is amazing. But in commercial searches, Google’s results are really polluted. My own personal experience says that the guy with the biggest S.E.O. budget always ranks the highest.”

Learn more about black-hat optimization, or “spamdexing,” here. Now, to make you feel better about Google again, watch this video for the Google animal-translator app: