Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Google Chokes on McLocalization’s Perpetual Garbage Creation Machine

(Of course, there would be a cost to Google for the Biblical amounts of resources I have wasted on my little antisocial effort, but that is irrelevant for this thought experiment. Let us further assume that Google can’t track me down even with those Google Maps cars that go around the world with little cameras on them.)

(I go AWOL with a new identity and end up eating Fritos while watching Sopranos re-runs in some fleabag motel.)

It turns out, apparently, that the McLocalization Brigade was busy doing this exact same thing on an even more massive scale. To the point that they were putting a considerable strain on Google’s infrastructure.

And finally somebody caved. Google announced the imminent shutdown of its Translate API (though not Google Translate or the Translator Toolkit) with this announcement: “Due to the substantial economic burden caused by extensive abuse, the number of requests you may make per day will be limited and the API will be shut off completely on December 1, 2011.

Life imitates art and outdoes its weirdness by a factor of ten. Booyah!

Miguel Llorens is a freelance financial translator based in Madrid who works from Spanish into English. He is specialized in equity research, economics, accounting, and investment strategy. He has worked as a translator for Goldman Sachs, the US Government's Open Source Center and H.B.O. International, as well as many small-and-medium-sized brokerages and asset management companies operating in SpainTo contact him, visit his website and write to the address listed there. Feel free to join his LinkedIn network or to follow him on Twitter.

1 comment:

Jordi Balcells said...

I remember when Maxprograms' Swordfish first enabled interaction with Google Translate. There were two options: translate the whole document all at once or translate each translation unit as you got there. After a few weeks, the translate the whole document option stopped working. It would translate a few sentences, then the server timed out. You had then to wait quite a long time to try again, thus making the process useless. I think the limit was 5000 characters per query or something like that. Rodolfo (Maxprograms' boss) then changed the way SF contacted the API by making the queries more Google-friendly, thus hoping to avoid their timing out. Again, this solution did not last long. Now, if you check Swordfish, you will see that the "translate the whole document" option has disappeared.
Of course, someone really trying to free ride the Google Translate API would find some clever ways to avoid getting banned. Maybe constantly changing between proxies, I don't know, I'm no hacker. The point I'm trying to make is that Google has resources to fight abuse. Their not doing so with the Translate API closure either means the freeriders got too intelligent or Google has decided that fighting back is not worth it. Of course, Google could always get the API back only for licensed subscribers with a valid purpose who will commit not to steal too much free candy.

By the way, the Google Recaptcha for this comment was "abbusee". ;) Long live Skynet, I mean, Google!