Does Google assume that all Indians know Hindi?

Today while searching for something in Google through the Firefox search bar, I was presented with the results. What was surprising was that Google had automatically switched to Hindi. It never bothered to ask me if I preferred to use Hindi.

Google Hindi, hindi translation, hindi search, hindi search results, regional language google, google hindi

Hindi is the official language of India. But the fact is only 35-40% of people in India speak/read Hindi. That being the case, I feel that Google should ask the user his/her preference before switching languages. The reality is that even if a person knows Hindi or any other regional language, he may prefer to continue to use English (I am one such person).

Fortunately, I know Hindi and so was able to get into Preferences and change my choice to English. I wonder, how a person who cannot read Hindi, would have felt if presented with such a result.

My suggestion is that Google should continue to use only English by default and change language only if the user chooses to do so. At the most, Google could display an info box asking the user whether he wants the results to be displayed in a regional language.


  1. says

    [b]out of the 40% indians who use Hindi, a significant portion live in remote villages, haven’t heard of google yet…or they may be thinking that google is like a sandwich available in hotels in the cities.[/b]

    South Indians are more advanced in case of information techn ology….banglore,cochin, and chennai..and south indian states like kerala is like a single big city thickly populated as japan.

    I feel even though Hindi is the national language, in case of IT, if you need anything other than English, it should be a south indian language (tamil, malayalam etc) with english alphabets

  2. Sanjay AB says

    Just to get the facts straight here about the 35-40% thing which is popular with linguists about Hindi.
    The data reflects the number of NATIVE speakers of Hindi, which includes people who cant read or write. Whereas it doesnt mean a person who knows to read and write Hindi is a native speaker/ would prefer Hindi on English.

  3. says

    You still didn’t clear yourself completely. I would definitely like to know from where you pulled out the stat of 35%-40%. And it is from there your post supposed to be implying your feeling towards the national language. You still state number as millions of non-Hindi speaking Indians without any strong base.

    I completely agreed with you in my post about usability factor but you presented it by wrapping with the regional point of view – that is where it hurts a compatriot.

    I have been in South India for significant period and I know very well that they don’t oppose Hind at all. In fact, they also love the fact as much as North Indians that there is a language which connects whole country be it a National Language or recognized as Official Language of the union as per Article 343 of the Indian Constitution. But when you mention this thing, it clears the intentions. It seems that misunderstood the post on the regional basis. Moreover, I know it is all political net but then a government reflects the majority of public – as far as I believe.

    I expect that you will take care in future while presenting a view specific to a country.

  4. says

    Hi Nitesh,
    I am not opposed to Hindi and I believe my post also doesn’t imply that. My concern was purely from usability point of view. With millions of non Hindi speaking people in India, I feel that Google should leave the choice of language to the user. Of course, the user can change the language at any time. But even the first time, Google can offer a option instead of automatically changing the language to Hindi.

    Another thing. It is a misconception that everybody in south India are opposed to Hindi. In reality the general public has nothing against it. It is purely politics that has created such a picture.

    Hindi is not the national language India…atleast not yet. It is the principal official language of India. Neither the constitution nor the laws of India accord the status of “National Language” to any language in India.

    I hope I have clarified myself.


  1. [...] Because an Indian in his blog is saying that only 35-40% of India speak/read Hindi without any reference or facts. Of course, he belongs to a part of India where Hindi is not preferred at all – neither as language nor as national symbol. He is from Chennai. With all due respect to the region and language, it made me go fury over his statement where he asks if Google assume that all Indians know Hindi. And according me, Google should assume. [...]

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