How to build for the long haul

The other day I seem to have raised a hackle or two with my post criticising’s upgrade. So I wanted to turn for a quick hot minute here to something they’ve done phenomenally right that just kind of slipped under everyone’s radar. A couple of months ago, with very little ado and as far as I can tell, no announcements, they launched new versions of in multiple languages. They had already launched in Japanese. Now you can view the site in German, Spanish, French, Italian, Polish, Portugese, Russian, Chinese, and Korean as well. Here’s a screen shot from the lower right corner of any page: screen shot
In the end, if there is one thing that keeps head and shoulders above the competition, I think it is going to be this savvy about the internationalism of the phenomenon they’re working. It’s one thing to get the Americans and Brits using your site, but if you can make yourself the premier site in China and Brazil, well that might be all the eyeballs a site is ever gonna need.

It’s easy for people in English speaking countries to forget that most of the world and most internet users, don’t speak English and, even if they do, might well prefer sites in their own languages. If you’ve been looking at the pie charts of the languages of internet users over the years as I have, it’s amazing how quickly the English slice is shrinking while the others, especially Chinese, expand. The web’s future is not English-only and deserve praise and emulation for recognizing it.

Comments (1) to “How to build for the long haul”

  1. Ah… the future