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Google Chinese Input

And just as I prepare to go to bed, I see in my inbox, via the 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.


  1. venture160 wrote:

    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.

    Thursday, April 5, 2007 at 3:26 am | Permalink
  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.

    Thursday, April 5, 2007 at 3:27 am | Permalink
  3. John B wrote:

    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.

    Thursday, April 5, 2007 at 9:03 am | Permalink
  4. Nan Ke wrote:

    Another news last night, job fair for expats on April 14th in Beijing, and April 21st in Shanghai.

    Thursday, April 5, 2007 at 9:18 am | Permalink
  5. Seconded. Hopefully Apple will update it when Tiger comes out in June.

    Thursday, April 5, 2007 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  6. Kevin S. wrote:

    Wish! Wish! Wish! I’m wishing as hard as I can. Come on 谷歌,be my 谷哥!

    Thursday, April 5, 2007 at 2:04 pm | Permalink
  7. Kevin S. wrote:

    Hey John B,

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

    美 元:13.99美元

    Thursday, April 5, 2007 at 2:07 pm | Permalink
  8. yee wrote:

    I don’t think it’s time to praise Guge’s IME,because there are many bugs and a key problem is the vocabulary Guge IME used was stolen from Sogou IME.

    Take a look at this post,you’ll get more details about the IME

    Monday, April 9, 2007 at 8:00 pm | Permalink
  9. ada wrote:

    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…

    Monday, April 9, 2007 at 9:47 pm | Permalink
  10. Larry wrote:

    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.

    Thursday, April 12, 2007 at 2:09 pm | Permalink
  11. Shawn wrote:

    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.

    Friday, April 20, 2007 at 2:15 am | Permalink
  12. Casino wrote:

    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?

    Monday, April 14, 2008 at 11:12 am | Permalink
  13. Miles from NeiHu wrote:

    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.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008 at 11:25 pm | Permalink
  14. John G wrote:

    I’m pretty sure that QIM is now using the Sohu/Sogou dictionary, which is a huge improvement.

    Thursday, May 1, 2008 at 9:36 am | Permalink
  15. NAYMIN wrote:


    Monday, March 9, 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Holly, Fili, Mark S., and Brendan have all written about Google Pinyin, too. Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social […]

  2. New Google Chinese IME at memoirs on a rainy day on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 3:41 am

    […] supposed to be great at predicting what you will input next. Mark, Holly, Fili, Mark S. and Brendan have blogged about it. These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and […]

  3. Global Voices Online » China: Google playing dirty on Tuesday, April 10, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    […] got some positive bloggage of its recently-released Chinese-language input software, and then Chinese bloggers discovered some impropriety in the program code, leading to […]

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