Indian portal Rediff.com has announced the addition of eight new languages to its blogging and social networking platform, Rediff iLand. With this, iLand members can now write blogs in Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali and Gujarati and, of course, English.
India does not have too many bloggers - only 7 per cent of the 25 million active Internet users actually have their own blogs, as per the JuxtConsult India Online Survey 2007. Rediff.com quotes comScore to say it has 5.6 million bloggers (a huge jump, as its vice-president marketing Manish Agarwal told agencyfaqs! five months ago that the site's blogging platform had 200,000 users).
Says Sashi Singh, who runs Podbharti.com, a Hindi podcaster with a blog site: "With regional languages, more people from smaller towns will take up blogging as they are more comfortable in their own language.''
Regional language blogging on Rediff iLand is based on a transliteration tool and an iLand blogger can write regional language blog posts using his QWERTY keyboard. Interestingly, Agarwal had this to say on the matter in an earlier interview with agencyfaqs: "I personally think that text in regional languages will only get a boost when we will develop a voice recognition technology that can translate everyday conversation into text. Transliteration tools and Hindi keyboards cannot solve the regional language problem."
Agarwal wasn't available to comment on Rediff.com's focus on regional languages. But this is not the first time Rediff.com has added regional languages to its applications. Rediffmail is available in 11 Indian languages and Rediff Bol (the instant messenger facility) is available in 10 Indian languages.