The internet has connected and flattened the world in ways previously unimaginable. Coupled with ever more seamless translation tools, it provides the ability to communicate across borders and languages. Now, a new instant messaging tool is looking to make communication for speakers of different languages even easier.
Globr provides its users with the ability to communicate via instant messaging, regardless of the languages being used. It automatically translates text from the senders language into the chosen tongue of the recipient.
It was one of seven shortlisted entries to the Virgin Media Business Three New Things competition that didn't win, but were still deemed worthy of a special mention. The contest aimed to uncover new technologies that have the potential to change the way we live.
The concept was apparently borne of a university romance between Globr founder Jimi Ayoku and a young Russian, who between them found that the subsequent language barrier was getting the way. Ayoku began working on the concept of seamless translation for instant messaging and, after 18 months of development, Globr is close to being launched. Although the tool is currently in private beta, Gizmag has been fortunate enough to get a look.
Ayoku and his partners have built the app from the ground up, working with an external tech development team but designing the creative and the architecture in-house. It has a simple design that will be familiar to users of any other chat applications. Once the app is loaded, users are presented with a list of their recent chats, and the settings menu can be easily accessed. Language settings can be applied, and friends and contacts can be searched for and added. The company is naturally guarded about the translation process, but says that the app has been designed to adapt to each user.
Globr will launch with support for seven languages (Dutch, English, French, German, Polish, Russian and Spanish), totaling 60 language pairs. It will initially be available on Android and iOS from May, and will be targeted at students and travelers. Plans for a desktop business application are also afoot, however, with a view to connecting employees within the same organization but who are spread across the globe and speak different languages.
The initial app will be used to some extent as a means of raising the company's profile before it makes its entrance into the business market, which is expected to be during Q2 of this year.