Google Apps has made a big splash in the enterprise market, with businesses moving their apps to the web. But even as emails, calendars, IM and online storage have increasingly gone cloud-bound, the service has been limited by the languages and domains supported. In its latest update, Google Apps has opened its domain registration to country-based top-level domains (ccTLD), and is offering support for new Arabic input tools.
In an official announcement last week, Google says new domains based on ccTLDs will come with the same Google Apps goodness. "Now, businesses that wish to sign up for Google Apps but don’t yet have a domain name have plenty of local options to choose from during sign-up."
The country-based domain registration is done in partnership with domaindiscount24.com, and Google says users can purchase a new domain for as little as US$ 8 for an annual subscription. This price will, of course, differ depending on the actual cost of a country domain.
Arabic Language Extension
Apart from additional domain support, Google Apps will also support Arabizi, an Arabic language slang that involves the use of regular latin characters. Arabizi then automatically converts the content to Arabic.
Google earlier released an Arabizi translation tool, but Fayeq Oweis, a director with Google's Arabic language and localization, says the company wants to extend the use of its translation tools across products.
Although I do not like writing [in Arabizi] and I would always recommend using the Arabic language directly, some users may not have a keyboard in Arabic ... so these tools facilitate the process and maintain Arabic language content."
Arabizi support comes by way of Google Input Tools, which requires the installation of a local software that does the input translation. The tool is currently limited to Windows, which means there is no support for direct Arabizi input from other PC and mobile platforms.
The advantage of running locally, of course, is that Arabizi to Arabic translation can be done even without a running Internet connection.
Google is hastening its efforts to expand to international markets and non-English users. This additional language support comes right after Google confirmed the addition of 13 new languages to Voice Search, which works on Android devices that can run the speech-driven interface for doing basic Google searches and speech-driven commands, much like Apple's SIRI.