On the occasion of International Mother Language Day, Microsoft announced support for email addresses in 15 Indian languages across its email apps and related services. Users will be able to use local language email addresses for Outlook accounts on PCs for e.g., व्यक्ति@संगठन.भारत.
It will also allow users to send/receive mails to/from local language email addresses via Outlook client on PCs, outlook.com in addition to Outlook apps for Android and iOS.
This initiative is part of the company’s ongoing efforts to support Email Address Internationalization (EAI) across its products and services ecosystem and make technology accessible in local languages.
Starting with Project Basha in 1998, Microsoft has been working to provide local language computing in Indian languages. Microsoft currently supports 22 constitutionally recognised Indian languages overall, including 11 Indian language scripts for Office and Windows.
Moreover, Bing, the company's search engine, allows users to browse in nine Indian languages. With the help of its AI technologies and Deep Neural Networks, Microsoft is now making translation and speech recognition available across several Indian languages, in addition to making Indic computing on the local cloud a reality by launching local cloud services from India data centres.
Google, too, had a launch on International Mother Language Day, and introduced Tamil language support for its advertising products Google AdWords and Google AdSense.
The support for Tamil language will also let content creators (who have websites and blogs in Tamil) to sign up for Google Adsense and run ads on their content and attract advertisers from across the globe.
"Majority of India's Internet users are not fluent in English and we have been very focussed on enabling Indian language support across our key products to make the Internet more useful for everyone," Shalini Girish, Director, Google Marketing Solutions, Google India, said in a statement.
With this, Google has now scaled support for three languages -- Hindi, Bengali and Tamil. India has 234 million Indian language users who are online as compared to 175 million English web users. According to the search engine giant, another 300 million Indian language users will come online in the next four years.
Back to Microsoft's update, the languages being introduced are those that support Unicode, an international encoding standard for use with different languages and scripts.
Local language email addresses are inseparably linked with Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) and can currently be registered in these 15 languages according to .IN Registry, which is responsible for registering IDNs in India.
Speaking of the announcement Meetul Patel, COO - Microsoft India said in a statement,
Ensuring that language is not a barrier to the adoption of technology is key for digital inclusion and growth. Making email addresses available in 15 languages is an exciting step to making modern communications and collaboration tools more accessible and easier to use for all – something we have been relentlessly working towards. We’re making technology use the language of people, and not requiring people to first learn the traditional language of technology.
Microsoft’s products will also support additional Indian languages as and when their IDNs and email addresses become available in the future, making this feature forward-compatible.
Microsoft, a member of Universal Acceptance Steering Group (USAG), along with international partners, including XgenPlus, Coremail, CNNIC and SaudiNIC, is working to support email addresses in any Unicode script through its apps and services, including RTL (right to left) languages such as Urdu and Arabic.
Users can register local language email addresses in India from third-party EAI address providers such as XgenPlus through an online process.