Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Many of us in the English-searching world don't realize that a large portion of the world's population writes (and types) right-to-left. For the Arabic, Hebrew, and other right-to-left searchers of the world, searching just got a little easier. If you're searching from a supported local interface (e.g. google.co.il/ or google.com.eg/) we now dynamically detect the direction of your query.
Enter a query like [افرض مثلآ] or [מכבי חיפה] and your query will align right so you can type to the left. Enter a query like [2008 world cup soccer] or [(5 - 3) * 32] and it will align left so you can type to the right. Enter a mixed query like [SMS משלוח] and we'll set the alignment and overall direction based (roughly) on the first word.
We've enjoyed learning about bidirectional issues. Enabling applications for bidirectionality is especially tricky because any sentence or phrase may contain a mix of left-to-right text (e.g. English, numbers), right-to-left text (e.g. Arabic, Hebrew), and neutral text (e.g. punctuation). The rules for displaying the direction of characters in individual words are different from the rules for displaying the direction of words in a phrase. Things are further complicated due to widely varying limitations across web browsers.
We hope you'll enjoy the improved search experience!