Google launches Cebuano on Word Lens and indigenous scripts on Gboard

    In line with the concluding celebration of the National Language Month or Buwan ng Wika, Google honors the Filipino language with exciting updates for Translate and Gboard.

    Cebuano in Word Lens

    Cebuano, one of the country’s major languages, is now available on Word Lens, a feature within Google Translate app that gives an instant camera translation. Word Lens works by simply letting users hold their phone in front of a sign or menu in a foreign language, and then the translation instantly overlays on the screen. The newly expanded 88 source languages including Cebuano can now be instantly translated into more than 100 languages.

    Google Translate instant camera translation
    Google Translate’s instant camera translation

    This update is helpful for tourists to communicate with the locals better and understand Cebu’s culture more. Users who are already familiar with Cebuano can still use the tool to learn other languages as well.

    According to Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 175 of the 185 officially listed Philippine languages are indigenous, and 11 of these are soon to vanish. In an effort to help preserve these local languages and scripts, Google adds some of our own unique indigenous writing systems on Gboard for Android: Buhid, Hanunuo, Tagbanwa and Baybayin.

    Gboard Baybayin Sample
    Gboard Baybayin Keyboard

    Gboard is an app that enhances the keyboard of messaging apps and devices on many aspects such as speed and accuracy, Glide Typing, voice typing and so much more. With Gboard, users can even search and send information, GIFs, emoji and more, right from their keyboard.

    Gboard Baybayin
    Gboard Baybayin

    With the four newly added native scripts, the virtual keyboard now makes it easier for users to discover and try writing in some of the country’s ethnic writing systems.

    Aside from endemic scripts, Gboard currently supports 19 languages from the Philippines: Tagalog, Central Bikol, Koronadal Blaan, Rinconada Bikol, Chavacano, Cebuano, Capiznon, Cuyonon, Hiligaynon, llocano, Itawit, Kankanaey, Kinaray-A, Maguindanao, Maranao, Pangasinan, Kapampangan, Tausug, and Waray.

    “At Google, we are committed to helping preserve the country’s local languages and scripts through relevant technology. Adding more Filipino languages and scripts on helpful products like Translate and Gboard is one of many ways we show this commitment,” said Gabby Roxas, Marketing Head, Google Philippines.

    Roxas continued, “To keep our indigenous languages alive, it is important that we try to continue using them. Today, where typing in on our smartphones is a common behavior, making more native scripts available on Gboard will play a vital role in helping preserve them.”

    To honor the National Language Month, Google held an event to discuss how technology can help in preserving our local languages and culture. Also present in the event was the Baybayin advocate and calligraphist Taipan Lucero who delivered a presentation on Baybayin history and led a workshop on basic Baybayin writing.

    Gboard Logo

    What’s Gboard?

    Gboard (the Google Keyboard) is an app that enhances the keyboard of your messaging apps and device on many aspects such as speed and accuracy, Glide Typing, voice typing and so much more! With Gboard, you can search and send information, GIFs, emoji, and more, right from your keyboard_ As an added bonus, we’ve added multilingual typing to help you switch languages on the fly.

    • More indigenous scripts of the Philippines such as Baybayin, Buhid, Hanunuo and Tagbanwa are now available on Gboard for Android!
    • Overall, Gboard supports 23 languages and scripts of the Philippines. Beyond Tagalog, the following are now available: Central Bikol, Koronadal Blaan, Rinconada Bikol, Chavacano, Cebuano, Capiznon, Cuyonon, Hiligaynon, llocano, Itawit, Kankanaey, Kinaray-A, Maguindanao, Maranao, Pangasinan, Kapampangan, Tausug, and Waray. And the most recently added options even offer some of our own unique indigenous writing systems: Buhid, Tagbanwa, Hanunuo, and Baybayin.
    Google Philippines Buwan ng Wika
    Google Philippines launches Cebuano on Word Lens and indigenous scripts on Gboard.

    Have you tried Google’s keyboard or tried to translate something using Google Translate’s instant camera translation yet? Let us know in the comments below!

    Gboard and Google Translate apps are available on Play Store and App Store.