Email in Tamil with Gmail

Gmail Indian Language Settings.png

Gmail just added a new feature to send emails in Indian languages. Go to the language options in the settings page to enable this. Once you do this you will see a “अ” icon. Click it and start typing phonetically. So if you type “Vasanth” it is automatically translated to “வசந்த்” in Tamil or “वसंत” in Hindi. Cool!

Gmail Phonatic Language Translation.png

There are also correction options available. You can also mix multiple Indian languages in the same email.

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Tata Nano Open for Booking

Tata Nano (the site seems to be down when publishing this post) is officially launched and open for booking. This is India’s affordable people car. It is the cheapest production car in the world at $2000 or Rs 1 lac.

The car can be booked for a payment of Rs. 2999 or $60! The booking for the car will be open for 60 days. The delivery will begin July 2009 for the first 100,000 cars. The car is anticipated to have a huge demand so the first 100,000 costumers will be randomly chooses using a computer from the initial booking!!

In the meanwhile there are “range of merchandise includes a Nano phone, Nano watch, T-Shirts, etc. and will be made available online at as well at all Tata Motors Passenger Car dealerships, Westside & Croma outlets.” :-)

BJP’s IT Vision: IT for All

L.K. Advani has released BJP’s IT Vision Document. It is a 30 page document and their press release has the highlights:

• Multipurpose National Identity Card (MNIC) with unique Citizen Identification Number (CIN) for every Indian citizen in 3 years; to replace all other identification systems.
• 1.2 crore (12 million) new IT-enabled jobs in rural areas.
• 1 crore (10 million) students to get laptop computers at Rs 10,000. Interest-free loan for anyone unable to afford it.
• National Digital Highway Development Project to create India’s Internet backbone, and Pradhan Mantri Digital Gram Sadak Yojana for last-mile access even in the remotest of villages.
• Broadband Internet (2 Mbps) in every town and village, at cable TV prices (less than Rs 200/month).
• All schools and colleges to have Internet-enabled education.
• 100% financial inclusion through bank accounts, with e-Banking facilities, for all Indian citizens. Direct transfer of welfare funds, preferably to the woman of the house.
• Every BPL family to be given a free smart mobile phone, which can be used by even illiterate users for accessing their bank accounts.
• Number of mobile subscribers to be increased from 40 crore at present to 100 crore in five years. Internet users to equal mobile subscribers. India to equal China in every IT parameter in five years.
• Video conferencing to be made affordable and universally accessible.
• Primary Health Centre in every village to be linked to the National Telemedicine Service Network. Basic health insurance scheme for every citizen, using the IT platform. Cashless hospitalisation.
• India’s ranking in the United Nations’ Human Development Index, which is currently 128, to be improved to 50 in five years, with the long-term objective of bringing India within Top Twenty by 2020.
• Massive expansion in the use of IT in agriculture, rural development, SMEs, retail trade, and informal and unorganised sectors of the economy.
• National e-Governance Plan to cover every Government office from the Centre to the Panchayats. The ‘E Gram Vishwa Gram’ scheme, launched by Shri Narendra Modi in Gujarat, to be implemented nationwide.
• Government spending to be made corruption-free. A former Prime Minister had once said, “If I put Rs. 100 in the pipeline in Delhi, only Rs. 15 reach the end beneficiary.” In contrast to Congress governments’ Leaky Pipeline, the BJP’s IT Pipeline will ensure 100% benefit to people. Those who misappropriate public funds will be punished.
• All post offices to be converted into IT-enabled Multi-Service Outlets. All telephone booths to be upgraded to Internet kiosks.
• Citizens will have a simple 1-800 BSNL Toll Free Number, which will be accessible 24x7x 365 days of the year, to contact their Member of Parliament.
• Unlimited VoIP access to all
• e-Bhasha: National Mission for Promotion of IT in Indian Languages.
• Special focus to bring women, SC/STs, OBCs and other weaker sections of society within the ambit of IT-enabled development.
• Use of IT for the protection of India’s priceless cultural and artistic heritage.
• Government to standardise on ‘open standard’ and ‘open source’ software.
• Domestic IT hardware industry to be aggressively promoted to minimise dependence on imports.
• Domestic hosting industry to be promoted to minimise international bandwith charges.
• An independent body, Digital Security Agency (DSA), to be set up for cyber warfare, cyber counter-terrorism, and cyber security of national digital assets.

Live traffic information for Indian cities

Live Traffic Map

BITS Features

MAPUNITY has released beta versions of its Traffic Information System for major cities in India, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi and Pune. These sites provide live traffic information for the city. Well from the screenshot above traffic is pretty messed up in Bangalore. :-(

It would be interesting to know how they collect the traffic data. I could not find it with a quick scan through the site.

The site also offers other information like Bus routes and stops. This is overlayed on the map. This is kind of neat.

It also provides driving directions. This feature is a good but it does not take street addresses but gives directions between two locations based on the area name. While this may not work in places like the US I think this will be useful in Bangalore. I know I would have found this information useful when I was in Bangalore.

There are other features like car pool database, public tags and safety sections. I have not explored these yet.

Overall this looks like a nice start. If you are in one of these cities give it a shot.