2 plus ones
Shared publicly•View activity
View 7 previous comments
- There's this - http://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04/breaking-down-language-barriersix-years.html - suggesting one justifiable answer is "April 28, 2006" - it sort of depends on what you want "Google Translate" to refer to precisely. There was a translate.google.com much earlier as attested by the Internet Archive, and they had other translation tool efforts, but the one we know as "Google Translate" is the effort led by Franz Och.Apr 3, 2013
- Cool bit of history. I think an external view, that of a publicly accessible translation service offered by google is best. The average person is not going to know or care enough to distinguish the internals and changes thereof. They will only see it as getting better. Interestingly, your linked post lists an offering as 2001.Apr 3, 2013
- Sometimes an interesting question has more than one correct answer, until you make it unambiguous enough that it's no longer interesting or no longer just one question. :)
The 2001 launch seems to have been sometime in March, judging from this blog which was following Google's doings pretty closely: http://www.searchengineshowdown.com/blog/2001/03/google_adds_translation.shtml
I'm inclined to side with the above answer which makes March 8 2001 the earliest verified date based on Wayback.Apr 3, 2013
- Young: I did try Internet Archive, but the hits for translate.google.com dead-end in 2003, which I knew was too late to be the original. (If that had been the original URL, IA would've tracked any redirects and things would be fine, but if translate.google.com was already a non-original URL, IA cannot point you at the original.) Good job finding the "http://www.google.com/machine_translation.html" URL. I think the 8 March date is truer, since the IA can only do public URLs and Google hardly ever lets pages go public too early (I've been going through ~300 Google products and can think of <10 instances where any such material leaked), especially since the 30 March commenters aren't saying things like "I tried the new Google Translate released today" but are referring to it as a well-known thing and not very new.
Edward: the closest I managed to get was somewhere around March 2001, inferring from timestamps in some blog comments, but I wasn't sure at all. (2003 is simply wrong, regardless of whether you are looking for the launch of the SYSTRAN-based service or the lage-scale statistical one launched in 2006.) Good Usenet hit, though, that definitely sets an upper bound of April 2001.
Rodrigo: that's an interesting trick. I did try filtering my searches for 1/1/2001-12/31/2001, but I didn't notice the date in the snippet ("Jan 31, 2001 - Google's free online language translation service instantly translates text and web pages. This translator supports: English, Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic,..."), although in retrospect I think I may not have seen it because I was adding in keywords like "launch". So I'll have to remember that one.
Laurent: That blog post's dated 30 March, yes, but the problem with taking it at face value is that it's discussing a feature (a link for auto-translation in one's normal search results) which you can see is already being promised in the 8 March IA capture ("1. If your search has non-English results, there will be a link to a version of the page translated into English.")
In conclusion: we really are in the digital dark ages, aren't we? Google Translate is a major Google service which has been used by millions of people over more than a decade, is a landmark of AI translation, is a major impetus behind the 'unreasonable effectiveness of data' paradigm in machine learning - and we can't even figure out when it was released more accurately than "some time between 02 and 08 March 2001".Apr 3, 2013
- ADBOC, I guess - the phrase "digital dark ages" could mean a range of things too broad for my comfort.
But yes, maybe most people now take it for granted that not only the content we produce on the Web, but its history, are being archived quite rigorously (a perception I think aided largely by prominent stories showing that "the Web forgets nothing", usually to someone's detriment). Actually, that archival is quite opportunistic and haphazard, but what more can we expect from privately funded efforts?Apr 3, 2013
- I don't think this has anything to do with a dark age. I think it more reflects 1) what people think is important and 2) how secretive Google actually is. When the translate service as an API was cut is easily accessible but no one, for whatever reason, cares much for the historical details of translate (it's technical details are more interesting - use of simple n-gram models + loots of data + basic alignment - but known only at the level of sketches given by Norvig and a handful of token papers).
For 2) very little is actually known about the internals of Google. They are open only when it so pleases them.Apr 3, 2013
Add a comment...