Google Translator becomes a paid service

Inara Pey reported that in a little less than a month, Google Translator would stop being a free service, and what this would mean for SL residents who regularly use this built-in feature on most (not all) viewers, both from LL and from third-party viewers.

Inara explains how LL is going to deal with this issue: by allowing users who pay for the service to be able to add their special registration key with Google so that the LL viewers can integrate with Google Translator — and have residents being charged for their use of the service while they’re logged in to Second Life®. To give residents more options, Linden Lab also developed the same interface for Microsoft Translation, which provides a slightly cheaper but equivalent service. The feature is under development and I’m sure it will be regularly available before the end of the month, when Google is scheduled to stop all free use of their translation services.

Now this worried me because I still sold the GUUD Universal Translator, a HUD which relied on Google Translator to quickly translate chat among 70+ languages (even though many language pairs were not supported, at least the majority was. This created a problem for me. I had to get a quick fix for the (few) users of my GUUD Universal Translator, since in a few weeks, I’m sure to get a ton of complaints!

Now let’s be fair with Google. Page, Google’s current CEO, has been clear about the new roadmap for his corporation — all projects not directly (or at least indirectly) contributing to Google’s revenue are to be shut down. No more “nice Mr Google” for us — unless it pays off. Can we criticise Google for this attitude? Of course not. Sure, they’re getting US$42 billion or so in revenues from ads, but they also have a huge infrastructure cost to maintain to keep those freebie users happy. Since the dot-com bubble, this has been a major issue for all technology companies which place their focus on “how many users are registered to the service” instead of “how many users pay for the service”. Successful companies are the ones that found a valid business model, where some users pay enough to cover all infrastructure costs for all users, freebie or paying ones. Google is a good example of a successful model. Linden Lab is another!

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