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Search for images on Net in 300 languages

tech-reviews Updated: Sep 17, 2007 16:50 IST

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Researchers in the US claim to have developed a search engine that enables people to search for images on the Internet in at least 300 languages.

The new service called 'PanImages' has been created by researchers at the Turing Institute at Washington University and details were presented at the recently held Machine Translation Summit held in Copenhagen, Denmark.

For example, if an Albanian searched for images of frogs through any of the existing search engines using the term 'bretkosë', meaning frog, he gets about 20 pictures, two of which contain actual frogs.

This highlights an important failing with the way a lot of information is made available on the web - most of it can only be searched using strings of text, which are naturally presented in a particular language, reported the online edition of New Scientist.

The new search engine, however, will automatically translate the Albanian frog query into other languages, including English, and find all the relevant pictures on the web, the researchers said.

"It's a cool idea and I imagine PanImages will help out lots of non-English web users," one of the researchers said.

The university suggests that users could use the service to narrow down their image searches.