Google Translate API Is Shutting Down Enrages Developer Community


Last week, Google announced that it was killing off several of its APIs. It said it was mainly due to lack of interest or because functionality was duplicated in other, newer APIs. In most cases, the decision affects some developers, but there are alternatives and there doesn't seem to be much of an outcry. Except for one case, the Translate API, which got a lot of developers very upset.

When Google announced the shut down, the Translate API was the only one that stood out since Google provided an original explanation for the move: "due to the substantial economic burden caused by extensive abuse."

Another way of interpreting 'abuse' is 'interest' and there certainly seems to be plenty of that, judging from the hundreds of comments Google got on the post announcing the move.

A lot of developers are upset about the closure of the Translate API, probably for good reason. It looks like a lot of companies are depending on it, yet Google decided to shut it down despite the interest.

"At One Laptop per Child, we were hoping to hook into the Translate APIs to allow cross-language communication between school kids in different countries," C. Scott Ananian, Director of New Technologies at One Laptop Per Child, commented.

"I'd like the second the recommendation about to leave the APIs open for educationa non-profit use at least there's about 2 million kids in Uruguay (alone) who could benefit," he added.

Of course, it's a free API and it can choose to do whatever it wants, especially if maintaining it proves particularly expensive.

But as plenty of the developers pointed out, Google has some of the smartest people in the business working for it tackling the hardest issues, it could have come up with a solution rather than just giving up.

One option that plenty of the third-party developers favor is a paid API. Businesses relying on the translation features are willing to pay for the functionality considering that there aren't any real alternatives out there that provide the level of quality Google Translate does.


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