Microsoft announced yesterday that they will be releasing speech-to-speech translation in an upcoming version of Skype. From TechCrunch:
In a chat before the demo, Pall said “Skype is about bringing people closer, and breaking down barriers.” That started with the idea of cheap international calling and expanded into face-to-face communications via video. Now it’s taking on the challenge of breaking the language barrier.
This is very exciting and reinforces to me what Microsoft should be focusing on with all of its properties. The question they should keep asking is, “how do we enable developers to create amazing products?”
As a developer we need all kinds of services to make our products go in a connected world. Microsoft could be the source for many of those services, from syncing to login, from up-to-date data and localized information. Translation is just another one of those services that many developers would be very willing to pay a trusted source.
Azure is just step one. I hope Microsoft keeps pursuing this angle, leveraging all of its assets including Skype, Microsoft Research, Kinnect, Bing, and on and on and on. There is a bright future there for the kings of software.