Google Chinese Input

And just as I prepare to go to bed, I see in my inbox, via the Chinese@Kenyon.edu listserv, that Google has just come out with its own Pinyin-based Chinese input method. This looks awesome — if only they could put out a Mac version.

Chinese input on the Macintosh is about where Chinese input on Windows was back in 2000. Apple apparently isn’t thinking too much about the Chinese market – understandably, since Apple computers are too expensive for most consumers here – but I really wish they could come up with a way of typing Chinese that didn’t transport me back to my high school days.

(Yes, I know there are shape-based input methods like Cang Jie and Wubi, but life is short.)

UPDATE 4/8: I tested the Google input method out on the Windows box at my now-former job, and yow. It is far and away the best, smartest input method I’ve ever used. I assume it’s passing data back to Google’s servers for word lists or something, because it’s got just unbelievably good predictive input. I typed in a fairly long, complicated test sentence containing a few proper names, and it nailed it.

F’reals, can we please get this for Mac? I’ve emailed Google’s development team; I suggest that you all do the same.

18 thoughts on “Google Chinese Input

  1. There are some third-party programs that work FAR better than the standard mac version and are at leats 50% faster.

    One is called QIM (I use this one)
    the other is called Openvanilla and is a open source program.

    Both are GREAT and highly reccomended.

  2. I used QIM for a while, but the trial has expired and I can’t figure out how to pay for it. OpenVanilla is a great idea, and I do hope that someday they make it usable, but I didn’t find it to be much of an improvement over Apple’s stock input method when I tried it.

  3. QIM is nice, but I played with the Google input yesterday evening and I was floored. Maybe if we all wished really hard…

    As for registering QIM (which I did, and it’s totally worth it) check out this page.

  4. Hey John B,

    Thanks for the link to QIM’s registration page. It’s on sale right now!

    为了庆贺本人孩子出生,QIM将在2007年4月2日到2007年4月15日举行为期两周的优惠活动,新的价格将为:
    人民币:31.7元
    美 元:13.99美元

  5. The irony is… Apple was one of the earliest supporters of the Unicode standard (the text encoding system underlying all modern OS’s)… and one of the main drivers for that effort was meeting the challenge of accommodating what is called the CJK (and later CJKV) character set — that is , Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and later Vietnamese. The Unicode standard was first published in 1991, and an Apple engineer was one of its authors. But Chinese IME for the MacOS STILL sucks, 16 years on…

  6. Huajun Feng has released his latest work, Fun Input Toy, a Pinyin-based Chinese input method for Mac. He’s been upgrading it frequently these days. Apparently quite a number of QIM beta users are switching to it ’cause it’s free of charge. Check it out yourself. http://fit.coollittlethings.com/

  7. Google’s IME is fantastic. I thought a translation of the setup options might come in handy for some readers of this blog, so I have put together one here.

  8. Nothing happened after I installed the Google Chinese Input software. There was no sign shown anywhere although I could confirm it showed in the list of Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel.

    My operating system is Windows XP. I suspect if the input method is still not meature enough for everybody’s using.

    Anybody has the same problem?

  9. To casino, you gotta do some setup stuff before it actually works. I am working on directions. Will try to paste in here:

    Control Panel: Regional and Language Options >> Languages >> Details >> Add >> Chinese (PRC) [or, if you already have Chinese (PRC) AND Chinese (Taiwan) REMOVE Chinese (Taiwan)] >> hit >> hit

    Click on the Language Bar,select CH Chinese (PRC)
    Click on Chinese (Simplified) – Microsoft Pinyin IME x.x
    Select the option with Chinese characters only.
    You should be good to go for simplified characters.

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