Google Arts & Culture's open source Woolaroo app uses AI to help preserve endangered languages

There are thousands of different languages spoken around the planet, but a sizable number of these are at risk of disappearing.

In fact, of the over 7,000 native languages currently in use, some 3,000 are in danger, and on average, a language becomes extinct every fourteen days. Google Arts & Culture is taking action to help preserve these endangered languages.

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Its new Woolaroo app is an open-source photo-translation platform powered by Google Cloud that makes use of machine learning and image recognition.

The app uses Google Cloud Vision API and when users take an image of an item in the world around them, it returns the word in the supported native language, along with its pronunciation.

Google explains that:

Woolaroo was created with the philosophy that learning languages is greatly enhanced through engagement and context. By seeing an object in its environment, it’s easier to retain the information and then use it more naturally in conversation.

At the moment the app supports 10 endangered languages, including Calabrian Greek, Louisiana Creole, Maori, and Yiddish.

You can find out more about Woolaroo on the Google Arts & Culture app for iOS and Android and at g.co/woolaroo.

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