The technology company announced yesterday the inclusion of indigenous scripts Baybayin, Buhid, Tagbanwa (Aborlan) and Hanunuo in Gboard for Android, a virtual keyboard app developed by Google.
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Indigenous Filipino scripts now available on Google keyboard
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - August 30, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Four indigenous Filipino writing systems are now available for users of Google’s virtual keyboard for Android users. 

The technology company announced yesterday the inclusion of indigenous scripts Baybayin, Buhid, Tagbanwa (Aborlan) and Hanunuo in Gboard for Android, a virtual keyboard app developed by Google. 

“We are committed to helping preserve the country’s local languages and scripts through relevant technology. Adding more Filipino languages and scripts on helpful products such as Translate and Gboard is one of the many ways we show this commitment,” said Google Philippines marketing head Gabby Roxas. 

“To keep our indigenous languages alive, it is important that we try to continue using them. Today, where typing on our smartphones is a common behavior, making more native scripts available on Gboard will play a vital role in helping preserve them,” he added. 

With the introduction of the Philippine scripts in Gboard, the company said it is now easier for users to discover and try writing in some of the country’s ethnic writing systems. 

Gboard is an app developed by Google to enhance the keyboard of messaging apps and devices. 

It enables users to search and send information right from their keyboard through a dedicated Google search feature. 

Aside from the four indigenous Filipino scripts, the virtual keyboard also supports 19 languages from the Philippines. 

These include Tagalog, Central Bikol, Koronadal Blaan, Rinconada Bikol, Chavacano, Cebuano, Capiznon, Cuyonon, Hiligaynon, Ilocano, Itawit, Kankanaey, Kinaray-a, Maguindanao, Maranao, Pangasinan, Kapampangan, Tausug and Waray. 

Cebuano in Word Lens

Aside from the four indigenous scripts in Gboard, the technology company said it has also introduced Cebuano in its Word Lens, a feature within Google Translate that gives an instant camera translation. 

The feature works by letting users hold their phones in front of a sign written in an unfamiliar language and instantly see the translation through an overlay in the screen. 

Google said Cebuano is among the 88 source languages that can now be instantly translated into more than 100 languages. 

Word Lens also supports Tagalog, with company officials saying they intend to include more Philippine languages in the feature. 

“This update is helpful for tourists to communicate with the locals better and understand Cebu’s culture more. Users who are familiar with Cebuano can still use the tool to learn other languages as well,” added the company. 

It noted that 175 of the 185 officially listed languages of the Philippines are indigenous, citing Ethnologue: Language of the World, an annual reference on global languages. Experts fear that at least 11 languages would soon vanish. 

Google announced the inclusion of new Philippine languages and scripts in its products for the celebration of the National Language Month or Buwan ng Wika. 

BAYBAYIN BUHID GOOGLE HANUNUO TAGBANWA VIRTUAL KEYBOARD
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