Google Input Tools

Multilingual virtual keyboard

Google Input Tools is a Chrome extension that allows you to use any keyboard to type your desired language. This is made up of four text input tools: Input Method Editors, Transliteration, Virtual Keyboard, and Handwriting. These are necessary for applying keystrokes, converting phonetics, and drawing text for over 70 languages. Once you start using Input Tools, it will continuously store the words that you use. This will enable it to know the meaning of the words and understand how the language is spoken. All input tools can be integrated into Google products, including Gmail, Drive, Search, Translate, Chrome, and ChromeOS. 

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Operating System SupportWindows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows 8.1
Current LanguageEnglish
Available LanguagesEnglish, Polish, German, Turkish, Galician, Portuguese, Finnish, French, Czech, Spanish, Chinese, Catalan, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, Basque, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Arabic, Greek, Norwegian, Hindi, Italian
DateFriday, April 3rd 2020
Developer URL

Writing tools 

IME, Virtual Keyboard, and Handwriting are the three input tools dedicated to creating text. This means you know the rules and nuances of your desired language. The easiest to use is the Virtual Keyboard. It is an interactive keyboard displayed on your screen, allowing you to type in your local or foreign dialect. You’re likely to find your desired language as Input allows you to speak up to 70 languages from 100 keyboards. 

Users that are fluent in logographic writing can opt to use the Handwriting or the IME tool. The Handwriting input can be used by all nationalities as it simply converts a drawing into a digital text. The Input Method Editor, on the other hand, is best suited for Chinese speaking users. It is capable of converting keystrokes to five Chinese dialects, namely: Pinyin, Wubi, Zhuyin, Cangjie, and Cantonese.

The Input extension can only be configured through your Google Account settings. You will find the Input Tools settings within the Language tab. Here, a dialog box will appear and present the four input options. You will also be provided with three settings: show/hide on-screen keyboard, show/hide status bar, and sync/don’t sync user dictionary. 

Translation capabilities 

It is important to note that Google Input Tools can only translate letters into characters based on phonetic similarity, and not translate one language to another. The phonetic translation is done through its transliteration input. This is in charge of mapping a system of writing to another based on similar pronunciation in the target language. For example, you can type in ‘namaste,’ and it will automatically detect that it is a Hindi word. It will present the translation in the original Devanagari script. 

You can use the Google Input Tool in tandem with Google Translate. The inputs will appear on the Google Translate homepage once you have chosen your source language. Each tool’s corresponding icon will appear in the bottom left of the input box. The tool will launch when you have clicked its icon or switch to a different input tool in the drop-down menu. 

Vital tool for multilingual users

Google Input Tools is a useful productivity tool for bilingual or multilingual speakers as it allows them to speak multiple languages from one device. The writing tools and capabilities have been whittled down to the essentials to allow you to focus on creating the text with the input you find most convenient. Most importantly, you can bring this extension on any Google Chrome-enabled device. 

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