Google has quietly dropped the “Translated Foreign Pages” search filter from the Google search options menu.
Google tells us the option was removed due to lack of use, but they say they are still committed to making the Web available to as many people, in as many languages, as possible.
The translated foreign pages search option enabled searchers to restrict the search results to specific languages only. So, if you want to search for something in English and then show results for that search result in French, you could have used this search option for that. Dan Russell, Google’s Search Research Scientist, who gives the Google Power Searcher class, explained how useful this feature was on his personal blog.
Here is a picture of that feature:
A Google spokesperson told us:
Removing features is always tough, but we do think very hard about each decision and its implications for our users. Unfortunately, this feature never saw much pick up — but you can still use Chrome to translate entire pages very easily, with a built-in translation bar that helps you read content on the Web, regardless of the language.
This feature was removed shortly after Google removed two other search options including related searches and instant previews – both due to lack of usage. Removing features and products is nothing new to Google, some things stick and some do not.
This one, however, seemed to be an implication from Google that they are giving up on their promise of cross-language search, as we covered in 2007 with our posts Google Searchology: CLIR and Views and Google Launches ‘Cross-Language Information Retrieval (CLIR)’.
Google says not so. Per their statement above, Google is still committed to translation. However, there is just no easy way to return and restrict to specific languages for English-based queries now.