Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/06/19/facebook_google_iran/

Google and Facebook jump on bloodstained Iran wagon

Publicity-seeking gesture halts crisis, heals wounds, ends tyranny

By John Oates

Posted in Applications, 19th June 2009 11:16 GMT

Google has begun offering Persian translations and Facebook has rebadged some of its features into Farsi.

Both firms claim the action is in direct response to events in Iran, not the publicity achieved by micro-blog firm Twitter.

Google Translate now includes a Persian ALPHA service.

Facebook's blog post on the move notes that content can already be shared in Persian, but that the site can now be navigated in Persian too. Comments to the blog post are mostly supportive, although a couple do point out that the whole site is mostly blocked in the country anyway.

The post thanked some 400 people who offered translations of thousands of Facebook terms.

Google made clear that its translation tool is very much a work in progress. Principal scientist Franz Och said it was optimised for translation between Persian and English but they would add other languages over time. He asked users to hit the "suggest a better translation" button if they were not happy with results.

Iran's top religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has described the elections as transparent and said that foreign media was trying to show a fight between those supporting or attacking the state. He said all four candidates supported the state. ®