Forget social media and Plus, Google truly impresses as a tools company

Google Translate iPhone app Kannada TamilThis week Google opened up its new-ish social network to companies and brands, prompting a minor stampede as businesses rushed to set up Google+ pages.

Just as quickly there seemed to follow numerous variations on the question ‘what do you want to see from us here?’.

It’s too early of course to say if allowing the likes of Angry BirdsThe Muppets and WWE on to Google+ will mark the next step in the network’s bid to be the new Facebook.

But it does overshadow a more interesting story, which is the continued rise of Google as a company that provides amazing, free online tools.

Beyond Gmail, Google Documents, Reader, etc, the company has for some time now been doing some very interesting things with languages.

So this week also saw the addition of five new Indian languages – Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu – to the Google Translate iPhone app.

Let’s stop and think about that for a minute. Online translation not just from one language to another, but from one way of writing to another … on your phone.

So, Google may have a slow-burning winner for social it media ambitions with Google+, after mis-steps with Buzz and Orkut, but maybe we should view Google’s really achievement as a tools company.

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