Facebook in Indian languages is pointless

It seems Facebook is desperately trying to attract more Indian visitors. First, they tried to pull in the Orkut crowd and now they want non-English speaking people as well.

The orkut move was actually nice as it’s the most popular social networking website in India and Facebook can find a lot of regular users from there. But I’m not sure if this language thing will work. I don’t know anyone who’d be interested in Facebook because it offers to show them some text in Hindi or any other regional language. I say some text because this is  only a translation of the core Facebook UI text. All the content you create (comments, status, messages) and the content from 3rd party apps (gazillion What XYZ character are you? apps) are still in English. I’d be more interested if they provide runtime translation for all the content. It won’t be perfect but it’ll be better. Also, all textboxes should have Gmail like transliteration enabled. Maybe not very useful but certain conversations in Hindi can be a lot more fun.

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Facebook now in Indian languages

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Facebook in Hindi (and English)

I’m not actually sure about this but do they have some office in India where such decisions are made? Because this certainly doesn’t seem like something any Indian, aware of Indian demographics, will decide upon. It probably is just about the translation team converting some strings to new languages and marketing that as a feature. This might have worked in European countries but it certainly doesn’t work in India. Besides it looks stupidly funny.

Gear up Facebook. That’s not how you can win over Indian audiences. I’m pretty sure a better way than this would’ve been cloning the orkut theme and showing TV ads saying we are just like orkut with more girls.

Disagree with me? Post your views in comments or read Pluggd.in’s views about this.

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