Google shutting down Translate API

Google shutting down Translate API

Google has announced they'll be limiting and eventually shutting down the Google Translate API, meaning any iPhone or iPad apps that rely on the service for free translation functionality aren't going to be able to reply on it any longer.

The Google Translate API has been officially deprecated as of May 26, 2011. Due to the substantial economic burden caused by extensive abuse, the number of requests you may make per day will be limited and the API will be shut off completely on December 1, 2011.

Google Translate is a great, free-as-in-Google web-based language translation service that can tell you what a seal is in French or what ferme means in English. The API let developers use that free service in other web apps, or in native apps like those in iOS. Which is what Marco Armant guesses just might have been the problem.

I wonder how Google felt about all of these iPhones hitting their free translator constantly. Seems like the kind of service that they might want to be exclusive to Android. Maybe iPhone apps are the “abuse” they’re talking about.

Microsoft's Bing still offers a free translation API, so developers have an alternative, for now at least. It's another example, however, of how risky it can be to base your app on the goodwill and free offerings of a big internet company like Google, Twitter, or Facebook.

[Google Code via Marco.org]

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Google shutting down Translate API

27 Comments

Microsofts Translation service works pretty well and from testing offers source language autodetection too.
The Microsoft offering uses API keys so they can at least monitor the system for abuse, which in my opinion is what Google should be doing (as that's their argument for shutting it down)

So will the Google Translate app be affected? Since that is their app, it shouldn't be causing problems.... I will miss it greatly!

Any word if the mobile website will remain available? As long as they keep that online iOS users can keep relying on that. (remains a pain for app developers thoo)

So what apps in the app store are affected? As a teacher in ESOL programs, this will adversely impact the ability to work with my students and provide a quality learning experience.

This news should go to the travel agencies and travel-related services. This is the kind of news that will impact their customers' enjoyment of the countries they visit.

Right, I agree. Google would be taking down an ENTIRE API because they don't want iOS users using it outside of their apps? That's ludicrous.
Next he'll be predicting the removal of YouTube to make iOS users flock to Android. Or how about blocking Google entirely. Pfft.

google's in house iOS app should be fine, this api is what allowed developers to take advantage of the tech.

So since when was Google worried about too many hits?
Also, will the only good app anyway, Google's own Translate app, still work? It seems like there are a few different bosses.

Handy javascript bookmarklet if you visit lots of non-english pages you need translated by google (which does a better job every day):
javascript:var%20t=((window.getSelection&&window.getSelection())||(document.getSelection&&document.getSelection())||(document.selection&&document.selection.createRange&&document.selection.createRange().text));var%20e=(document.charset||document.characterSet);if(t!=''){location.href='http://translate.google.com/translate_t?text='+t+'&hl=en&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie='+e;}else{location.href='http://translate.google.com/translate?u='+escape(location.href)+'&hl=en&langpair=auto|en&tbb=1&ie='+e;};

They could be trying this because too many people are using outside apps which google does not stand to profit from. By taking away this API Google could push many users to their own app or mobile website with their own ads. Not that Google is hurting for money but after missing analyst expectations last quarter they are probably trying to increase revenue any way they can. In any case I'm not buying their story about this API being overused... If they were being compensated they would not care.

I wonder what the built-in translator widget on Max OSX uses? Perhaps Apple has its own? Probably not or why would the iPhone use Google's?

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