Google India has taken the initiative of working with various stake holders of the internet eco system in India to grow Indian Languages on the internet. Through this effort India is expected to from the internet user base from the current 250 million to 500 million by 2017, majority of whom will be from mobile internet users.
PS: My article was published in Thinking Aloud! magazine (December 2011). The entire issue focused on Indian languages on the internet and mobile.
India has about 100 million desktop & 50-150 mobile internet users. These numbers vary depending on whom you ask. IAMAI’s recent report says 18 million use the internet in India on a daily basis. Clearly we have a long way to go to make this ‘daily’ number bigger.
One of the reasons I constantly hear from people are – Indians are not going online because Internet is for English speaking elite user base. There isn’t enough content in Indian languages for the masses to be engaged on the internet. Yes, this is true when compared to English language but there is sufficient language content to keep a user busy.
Saturday editions of Mint are always special. Today’s article “Back to the future” caught my eye which mentioned Indic fonts (Indian language fonts). Even though I do read several newspapers (online/offline) I somehow missed the news in September about The Murty Classical Library of India (MCLI). The MCLI project was set up in 2010 with a gift of $5.2 million (approximately Rs. 25.5 crore now) from NRN’s son Rohan Murty. MCIL will release its first set of six Indian classics translated into English in 2013.
My twelfth column in “Vijaya Next” (Kannada) was about writing in Kannada script on PCs/internet. Main points were,
- In what language do most of us speak at home? In our ‘mother tongue’. When it comes to the internet, why should we communicate in English only? Luckily you don’t have to. You can write in ‘namma Kannada’.
- There are many people who can understand Kannada but cannot read/write Kannada. But their love for Kannada doesn’t stop them for writing Kannada in English, this is known as “Roman script”. You can write “Ee Sunday ninadu yenu planu? Nanu picturege hogethini”.
- There are two basic options for keyboards – inscript & transliteration.
- Popular Kannada fonts: Baraha, Nudi, Lohit
- Now-a-days ‘Pada‘ software is very popular.
- To read and write in Kannada on mobile phones, your handset maker should have shipped Kannada font with the phone.