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Screenshot of Google Pinyin
|Stable release||184.108.40.206 / 2009-12-10|
|Operating system||Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP, Windows Vista|
|Available in||Simplified Chinese|
|Type||Input method editor|
|License||Google Terms of Service|
Google Pinyin IME (谷歌拼音输入法) is an input method developed by Google China Labs. The tool was made publicly available on April 4, 2007.
Google released a preview of a Pinyin IME system for Android with SDK 1.5 in March 2009. It is not clear how much code this IME system shares in common with the closed-source Google Pinyin, although a lot of the core algorithms are written in C++ and called through a JNI bridge, hinting at a common source origin.
By the end of 2008, more than 20% users of Google Pinyin wanted a Linux version of the input method, which was answered in the FAQ section with a general PR phrase "We always strive to provide a better user experience and we never stop our hard work to fulfill the customer needs".
After Christmas 2009, the Google pinyin module for SCIM became also available for the Nokia Maemo 5 platform, which means it can be downloaded to any n900 phone through the official application repositories.
Copyright infringment allegations
After Google Pinyin was initially released in April 2007, it was soon discovered that Google Pinyin's dictionary database contained employee names of Sogou Pinyin, an indication that the dictionary was taken from Sogou, one of Google's competitors in the Chinese Internet market. On April 8, 2007, Google admitted that they used "non-Google database resources". Shortly thereafter, a new version of Google Pinyin was released which no longer appeared to be based on Sogou's database.
According to the Chinese-language Wikipedia article on Google Pinyin , as well as numerous bug entries  in the support section of the Google Pinyin website, the Traditional Chinese mode of this input method editor is hardly usable. Some of the characters are impossible to enter, for example 台 (tai). Another flaw is that the IME selects the incorrect character in the Traditional Chinese input mode, for example, using the character 發 (fa1, "to issue") in 頭髮 (tou2fa, "hair") or using 谷 (gu3, "valley") in 穀物 (gu3wu4, "grain"). These are the results of the system internally using Simplified Chinese (and GBK encoding) exclusively, so this bug is more of a design flaw than a phrase database insufficiency.
- ↑ "Android GIT repository, PinyinIME module". http://android.git.kernel.org/?p=platform/packages/inputmethods/PinyinIME.git.
- ↑ "常见问题：何时推出 Linux 或 Mac 版输入法？何时支持换肤功能？何时……？" (in Chinese). http://www.google.com/support/pinyin/bin/answer.py?hl=cn&answer=79336.
- ↑ Lemon, Sumner (2007-04-10). "Sohu Threatens to Sue Google". PC World. http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,130562-pg,1/article.html. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
- ↑ Lemon, Sumner (2007-04-09). "Google Admits Using Outside Source for Chinese App". PC World. http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,130502-c,copyright/article.html. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
- ↑ "谷歌拼音输入法" (in Chinese). http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh-tw/谷歌拼音输入法.
- ↑ "谷歌拼音差強人意的繁體詞庫" (in Chinese). http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/pinyin/thread?tid=4aac92fd63b48167&hl=zh-CN.
- ↑ "拜托了，那是什麼繁體... ..." (in Chinese). http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/pinyin/thread?tid=7f351798bee5732b&hl=zh-CN.