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This Google ad has moved people to tears across India and Pakistan (pri.org)
557 points by selmnoo on Nov 19, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 270 comments

This is the ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHGDN9-oFJE - be sure to have subtitles on (unless you understand Hindi).

One interesting observation about the ad: the search results that the girl deems to be good and informative are almost all Wikipedia hits. It's actually pretty similar to my situation: Google is basically a better Wikipedia searching tool than what Wikipedia provides.

Hindi or Urdu? Haha... I always find the "language vs dialect" thing very interesting. The distinction when it comes to Hindi and Urdu is totally political.

Two of my old buddies, one an Indian, the other a Pakistani, could completely understand each other, yet both insisted that they spoke different languages (Punjabi/Hindi and Urdu respectively)

Another friend of mind, who left Pakistan as a 10 year old, always just shook his head with a smile and said "Dude, that's like a guy from Alabama saying someone from England speaks a different language."

A Yiddish scholar once said that "a language is a dialect with an army and a navy."

It's really true. One might think that mutual intelligibility (ability for speakers of one to make themselves fully understood by speakers of the other) would be the standard for differentiating languages from dialects, but the distinction really ends up just being political. The spoken forms of Hindi and Urdu are entirely mutually intelligible but have two separate names.

Many varieties of Arabic and Chinese are mutually unintelligible but are called "dialects" of one Arabic or Chinese language, presumably to promote a unified Arab or Chinese identity. Speakers of Moroccan Arabic and Levantine Arabic or of Mandarin and Cantonese can't understand each other any better than speakers of Spanish and Italian can, but we don't call Spanish and Italian dialects of Modern Latin!

It gets even weirder when you have a dialect continuum, like with Polish-Russian-Ukrainian. Russian is somewhat mutually intelligible with both Polish and Ukrainian, but Polish and Ukrainian are not themselves mutually intelligible! So even if politics didn't play a role in the distinction between language and dialect, it would be hard if not impossible to come up with a universal distinction.

The same applies to the Scandinavian languages, to an extent. A Norwegian will generally have little issue understanding both Danish and Swedish, while Swedes and Danes have a much harder time understanding each other.

However, us Norwegians receive a lot of influence from our neighbors and so understanding of their slight differences in language comes as a side-effect of that. A kind of younger sibling complex. May the same apply to Poland and the Ukraine?

Nordic languages and Hindu-Urdu are great examples of how political language is. The reason Urdu was made a separate language was because of political reasons of the Mughals. Similarly, I believe Norwegians gave a separate legal status to Norwegian to make it distinct from Danish, as a mark of defiance to Danish colonial rule of the past.

TO be fair Hindi, even though it grew more organically was given a formal status of national language by the predominantly Northern Indian Congress government post-independence to use it as an instrument to exert central political influence on the rest of the country, rather unfairly. At the time of India's independence, there were far more Tamil and Bengali speakers (not just native) than Hindi, but the central government forced Hindi to the rest of the country which did lead to a lot of understandable backlash, primarily in the South, which is why they dare not make it the official language of the country.

'there were far more Tamil'

That is false. Citations please?

'and Bengali speakers'

This ignores the fact that Bengali attained its status because of British who ruled India from Calcutta and enabled Bengali hegemony. No native speakers learned Bengali as second language in rest of the undivided India. Only Bengali diaspora moved to different parts of country as part of British civil services.

'Hindi... was given a formal status of national language by the predominantly Northern Indian Congress government post-independence to use it as an instrument to exert central political influence on the rest of the country'

Another propaganda. Hindi-Urdu (or Hindustani) was the most spoken and widely understood language in undivided India. Hindustani was official language of British. It might lose to Bengali IFF one divides it into Hindi and Urdu. But that division happened AFTER independence, when the spoken Hindi was standardized to a Sanskrit base, and Arabic-Persian words were mercilessly pruned-off to enable non-Hindustani speaking people to grasp it easily. The only people who got the short end of the deal were Tamil, because Tamil language has got almost (almost) nothing to do with Sanskrit.

To blame a newly formed government of an enslaved country, of 'exerting political influence' is the racist tirade Tamils latched on to, after there beloved masters left the country and didn't leave them in charge.

> Another propaganda. Hindi-Urdu (or Hindustani) was the most spoken and widely understood language in undivided India.

Disagreed, if by Hindi you mean khari boli, a language restricted to the "cow belt". You gave an explanation why Bengali was prevalent, OP's point was that Bengali was prominent. Why it was so was besides the point.

>To blame a newly formed government of an enslaved country, of 'exerting political influence'

It still does not change the fact that it was imposed. BTW I am by mo means Tamil.

> khari boli, a language restricted to the "cow belt".

Khari boli is a dialect that, after independence, turned into standardized dialect of Hindi. But it was widely understood unlike Begali. And it was in no-way restricted to cow belt[1], even after ignoring how big that belt really is and how much population it holds. People in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat fully understand Hindustani[2]. Hell, Ghandi was from Gujarat and he used Khari boli.

> You gave an explanation why Bengali was prevalent, OP's point was that Bengali was prominent. Why it was so was besides the point.

OP said there were more Bengali speakers than Hindustani. I am saying that it is not true.0 I will have to check what effect inclusion of Bangaldesh might have had, but remember we are talking about national language. It ought to be understandable to large parts of nation - large parts of ethnically different groups.

Btw, if you want to step onto political land-mine, try comparing grammar and vocabulary of Bengali and Bhojpuri/Bihari. The idea of Hindi vs Bengali will take a new meaning :) Language is indeed political.

> It still does not change the fact that it was imposed.

Hindi was supposed to be encouraged over English, but it has never been imposed. You just have to get down in Chennai railway station to know that. The anti-Hindi propaganda is purely political in nature. As a matter of fact, no body in even "cow-belt" (Haryana + Delhi + UP + Bihar) + Madhya Pradesh + Gujarat [1] speaks standardized Hindi (though they all understand Khari boli). If you speak it in Delhi - the heart of Hindustani as it was - you will literally be laughed at.

> BTW I am by mo means Tamil.

I don't care man! :) I am not a native speaker of khari boli either.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_belt

2. http://www.mapsofindia.com/maps/india/india-political-map.ht...

Your last line is so racist.

It is not racist to call someone racist.

For what it's worth - the backlash is still kind of the case in the South (not speaking statistically, just from personal experience). I grew up around Mumbai and traveled to the southern part of the country 5 years ago where Hindi is not the native tongue.

Hindi was not particularly well-spoken nor was it always well-received by the other person. We wound up talking in English most of the time.

In South Africa, many Tamil Hindus, when asked what their religion is, say "Tamil", not "Hindu". "Hindu" to them, refers to Hindus of North Indian descent (of Gujarati and Hindi origin). Since their ancestors came to South Africa more than 150 years ago, this sort of separatist instinct seems to long predate modern India.


I don't know if that's the case with Polish and Ukrainian. That certainly is the case with Arabic where many speakers of Levantine or Gulf Arabic will probably understand Egyptian Arabic since they grow up watching Cairo-based media. Likewise, most Indians who don't speak Hindi will probably understand it perfectly since they grow up with Bollywood. I assume that's especially true for northern Indians whose languages are related to Hindi.

I'm not convinced your Polish-Russian-Ukrainian example is correct.

My wife is from the west of Ukraine, and her home language is Ukrainian. However, she is totally fluent in Russian, as to be expected from someone growing up during the Soviet era.

Both Ukrainian and Russian are written using the Cyrillic alphabet, whereas Polish uses Roman letters.

She finds Polish fairly easy to understand, from an aural point of view, but does have difficulty reading it unless she mentally sounds out words phonetically.

My understanding is that Polish and Ukrainian languages are closer to each other, than Polish and Russian, or Ukrainian and Russian. It just so happens that almost all Ukrainians can easily slip between Ukrainian and Russian, with many Russian words now found in every day Ukrainian speech, due to political events of the last one hundred years.

Today, Ukraine is almost evenly split between ethnic Ukrainians in the west and ethnic Russians in the east. Kiev is the standout melting pot. This ethnic split is one reason why Ukrainian politics find themselves so often in a mess.

I would disagree with both you and your parent comment.

Russian and Ukrainian are East Slavic languages; Polish is a West Slavic language. None of these three languages is mutually intelligible with any other, but Russian and Ukrainian are much closer to each other than other pairings. For example, Polish words generally have a fixed stress position, which makes Polish speech sound foreign and bizarre to unaccustomed Russian/Ukrainian ears. Many features of grammar and syntax are also much more similar between Russian and Ukrainian compared to Polish.

This basic picture is clouded a little by the split between east Ukrainian, which is lexically much closer to Russian, and west Ukrainian, which is farther from Russian and has very many lexical borrowings from Polish, because west Ukraine had been a part of Poland for a long time. So someone from the west of Ukraine will hear many familiar words in Polish speech, and will find it easier to understand Polish than someone from the east of Ukraine. That's sort of an icing on a cake, however; it doesn't change the basic fact that Russian is still much closer to their native language. If you could find someone from the west of Ukraine who had never been exposed to anything but their native language (and it's rare, as you mention, because almost everybody knows Russian at least to some extent), they would almost certainly find it much easier to learn Russian than Polish.

(my native language is Russian and I grew up in east Ukraine)

(and don't get me started on Belorussian)

Actually, all three are pretty close. The thing about Polish is that in Polish words that are similar and understandable to Ukrainians are pronounced a little differently. My background is similar to yours, and it only took very little practice hearing Polish to adjust and start recognizing them -- and a lot of people from Western Ukraine, such as in the example above, have had that practice.

Similarly, a lot of Russians from Russia proper who have never been exposed to Ukrainian, find spoken Ukrainian very difficult to understand.

Please do go on about Belorussian. This is quite interesting.

I'm agree that the grandparent example is, uhm, weird: it rather reflects Poles' and Ukrainians' knowledge of Russian language than some unbiased inter-intelligibility.

Polish language is quite close to Ukrainian in regard of vocabulary and maybe grammar, but is quite different phonetically and does not use Cyrillic like Russian.

Still, I can't agree that Ukraine is _ethnically_ divided in halves, ethnic Russians are near 17% of the population. Language question is much more vague, I think that more than 50% of Ukrainian population use Russian on daily basis (though it's hard to say how many of them use a mixed Russian-Ukrainian dialect, surzhyk and a lot of people actively use both languages) and it's very hard to find someone who does not understand Ukrainian and Russian at the same time.

it's very hard to find someone who does not understand Ukrainian and Russian at the same time

Hard to find in Ukraine, since most people (both Russian and Ukrainian native speakers) have been constantly exposed to both, very easy to find in Russia :)

You're right, ethnic Russians are only about 17% of the total Ukrainian population and heavily concentrated in the east. I guess it must be the distribution which effects voting patterns, rather than purely ethnicity.

Having asked the wife, so yes it's anecdotal evidence, she feels both Polish and Slovakian are closer to Ukrainian than standard Russian. She cites the example of a friend from St Petersburg who can only understand a few words of Ukrainian. Perhaps my wife's Ukrainian is somewhat dialectical, incorporating many Polish/Slovakian elements.

A side note: as a teenager I spent one summer working in a clothing store in London, with a bunch of Spaniards and Italians. They spoke to each other using their respective tongue, and said they could understand each other. Just basics of course.

Maybe someone from Spain or Italy could chime in here?

As with the Arabic and Chinese language families, different varieties of Romance languages are similar enough in syntax and vocabulary that speakers can kind of make themselves understood to each other if they speak slowly and choose their words carefully. Same with lots of closely related languages, e.g. German and Dutch. But they're not nearly mutually intelligible to the degree that American English and most varieties of British English are or that Hindi and Urdu are.

Regarding the Spanish/Italian example, the father of a friend of mine was fluent in Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Using an Italian grammar guide and his knowledge of Romance vocabulary from the other three languages, he learned Italian in a single flight from the US to Italy to the point where he was able to conduct business in Italy immediately upon landing.

I'm Dutch, and people from the east of Netherland don't understand why I don't understand German, claiming the languages are so similar. But I have real trouble understanding German. Maybe when it's someone from the north-west of Germany who speaks very slowly and clearly. People from the east of Netherland have much less trouble, somehow.

(I'm utterly unable to understand people from the Dutch province of Zeeland when they're speaking to their parents. That's complete gibberish to me, though it doesn't have a special status as a local language, as far as I know. (unlike Nethersaxon, for example))

I'm from Australia and I can't understand from the Australian province New Zealand.

"Australia's gotta become one country first."

The reply from former NZ Prime Minister Rob Muldoon when asked if NZ would ever become part of Australia.

When you have trouble understanding germans, are they speaking Hochdeutsch or Platt? I'm curious if Platt is more closely related to Dutch than Hochdeutsch or not.

As a german, I always have problems understanding other germans when they speak english, so there's always that ;).

I'm Romanian, as a kid in a few months I became fluent in Italian just from watching their TV channels, no dictionary involved. It was a mass phenomenon at the time since their TV channels were quite popular on cable.

It's exactly the same with English and American.


As a French I can tell you we can understand most of casual Italian / Spanish conversation just fine (and I believe Spaniards and Italians can understand a good portion of French too). The roots are very similar for most words that you catch it up very quickly.

You are right. Related romance language (Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese and Romanian) speakers can understand most of the words.

As a Romanian I understand best Italian, then Spanish, then French and lastly Portuguese which is little odd for me.

I don't think it goes both ways, though. Romanian is rather obscure to me. Possibly because of slavic influence?

In "The Grammar of Romanian"[1] book, Romanian language contains the following: 20 percent inherited Latin, 11.5 percent Slavic, 3.6 percent Turkish, 2.17 percent Hungarian, 43 percent Romance borrowings (mainly French - 38.4 percent).

The lexical similarity of Romanian with Italian has been estimated at 77%, followed by French at 75%, Sardinian 83%, Catalan 73%, Portuguese and Rhaeto-Romance 72%, Spanish 71%. In modern times Romanian vocabulary has been strongly influenced by French, Italian and other languages.

More on wikipedia if you are interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanian_language

BTW, are you Spanish?

[1] http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199644926.do

Very interesting, I'll try to read up more.

>BTW, are you Spanish?

Nope, Italian.

Written Romanian looks a little intimidating because of the amount of diacritics, but what I've heard sounds surprisingly similar to Italian.

Phonemes are similar, but spoken Romanian is complete gibberish to me.

Things get better in writing, but there's still no comparison to Spanish.

After all there was a longer interaction with the latter: for historical reasons words and verbal constructs in southern dialects can give insights with regard to it or French.

As a portuguese who learnt some french in school, portuguese, spanish and italian are all similar enough that you can communicate or at least kind of understand what's being talked about. Spanish is the closest to portuguese though (how entirely unsurprising), and the degree to which I understand italian is quite influenced by knowing some french.

Yes, the basics are ok to understand (even though Spaniards speak too fast)

Have you been to Andalusia? We speak quite fast even for Spanish standards :).

As a person currently studying Spanish, I can understand basic Portuguese, Italian, French. As all these languages are from the same origin (Latin).

Similarly, although Hindi is derived from Sanskrit, over the years, due to lots of Mughal invasions, and Urdu arts, poets, a lot of Urdu words are a part of Hindi. Hence they are easily understood in either part of the border.

As a Spaniard that has visited Italy, I can attest that they definitely understand us and we understand them, at least for the basics. However, there are interesting differences, like the way we pluralize words (quite different in both languages) or the lack of certain prefixes that Spanish imported during the Arabic occupation (carciofo -> alcachofa, zucchero -> azúcar, etc). I haven't studied Italian but I guess that the grammar is very similar.

It's a little like Galician or Catalonian (languages without an army or navy ;) ), the other latin languages spoken in Spain (then there is Basque, but that's a completely different thing): they have palpable differences to Spanish, but in most cases both tongues can reasonably understand each other without many problems (it also helps that most Galician and Catalonian speakers also speak Spanish, of course).

There is of course some degree of mutual intelligibility.

Still, I find French to be lexically closer to Italian, despite the phonetical differences.

You sure it's not Polish-Ukrainian-Russian? My mom can sit down and yak the night away with her Ukrainian friend, but when I spent a few days in Russia, "ne gaviria po rusku" because I couldn't understand a damn thing.

They were essentially the same language also known as "Hindustani" with the distinction being that Hindi was written in the Devanagari script and Urdu written in the Nastaliq script. However, starting a few years before independence, the Hindus gradually Sankritized Hindi, while the Muslims Persianized Urdu. An example of this is the news in the national TV channels of India and Pakistan are in versions of Hindi and Urdu respectively that hardly anyone uses colloquially.

That is not entirely true. Hindi and Urdu as pure languages are very different languages, and not just because of the script. Hindi originated from Sanskrit, while Urdu borrows from Farsi and perhaps some Arabic.

However, colloquial Hindi and Urdu are somewhat-to-very similar and are indeed intertwined which is what allows most speakers of either language to understand each other.

Give me a word and in most cases I'll be able to tell if it originates from Hindi or Urdu.

precisely. In fact because Urdu is still spoken in parts of India (north & central) AND tends to be the preferred language of scriptwriters & songwriters in Bollywood - a lot of spoken Hindi has picked up a significant Urdu tinge.

Hindi or Urdu? Haha... I always find the "language vs dialect" thing very interesting. The distinction when it comes to Hindi and Urdu is totally political

Try Serbo-Croatian[1]. But OTOH, most Slavic languages are fairly similar.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serbo-Croatian

Well, I would beg to disagree. While the standard Serbian and standard Croatian are very similar, it's more of an artificial. Even when that was one language official, one part of ex country called it Serbo-Croatian, and other one Croato-Serbian, and the versions taught at school were similar, but not the same. There were some language constructs that were in this common language just because they were present in one, and not the other, so that Serbo-Croatian was a strange mix.

Not to mention dialects. Being a native south Serbian speaker, I had much better understanding of Macedonian and Bulgarian than those Croato-Serbian dialects spoken in the western or south Croatia.

I guess if it weren't for that political push to make Serbian and Croatian language the one language, those language would be much more different today than they are. Not to mention that simply choosing another Serbian dialect as standard Serbian, and another Croatian dialect dialect as standard Croatian would make those two languages unintelligible. Instead, it was a political choice to choose two most similar Serbian and Croatian dialect to be official standard language, and then enforce that at schools. I know that for example in southern Croatia people were forced to use standard Croato-Serbian at schools, and people in southern Serbia were, and still are forced to use Serbo-Croatian at schools, TV and all official institution.

Yes, language is a politics, and politics frequently molds languages in the direction it chooses. Orwell was not that far away with reality.

I would disagree as well. Most Slavic languages are much less closely related than Roman languages for example. I'm a native Bulgarian speaker and while I can catch some words when travelling in Serbia it's not that straightforward to understand others or to explain myself. I can understand people better in Croatia actually, which is kinda weird cause we don't share a common border. If I go to Poland, the gap becomes even wider. But for both the gap is significant. Grammar is different (e.g. inflections vs no inflections), pronunciation is different, hell even the alphabets are different.

Urdu and Hindu are essentially the same thing -- except one is written in classic Indian devanagari Sanskrit-style script, and the other is written in Arabic script. And, of course, regional dialect -- but really, those distinctions are excusable in daily speaking. The related language families are just so related across the board -- Marathi, Punjabi, and Hindi -- that one can pick up the other with just a bit of practice.

What is generally spoken is a mix of Hindi and Urdu (Hindustani, as Mahatma Gandhi would have liked to call it). We rarely come across anyone speaking "Shuddh Hindi" or "Khalis Urdu" these days. English words permeate almost all regional languages.

Dialogues of bollywood films used to have a fair sprinkling of Urdu words until late nineties. Film titles too used to be shown in three languages - Hindi, Urdu and English. Now a days we don't find much of that.

> English words permeate almost all regional languages.

I wonder if, with the growing global connectedness due to the invention of the internet, we'll see a convergence of all spoken languages over the next hundreds or thousands of years.

Not really. Im Indian but not a native Hindi speaker. I have trouble understanding Urdu, where as Hindi seems more natural to me.

I see it differently. The languages aren't that far apart where native speakers couldn't easily converse with one another. I'm American but lived in Peshawar Pakistan as a kid and learned Urdu (in school) and Pashto (at home). I don't have any problems understanding most of the Hindi I've heard in Bollywood movies or from my Indian friends.

Great observation--came here to say the same, but I have to disagree that jumping from Hindi to Punjabi (for example), even with a little bit of practice, is simple.

I'm a native Urdu (Hindi hehe) speaker and though I can understand the gist of a fast-paced Punjabi conversation, jumping in to participate is whole different matter. Even with a little bit of practice, I doubt I'd be productive.

I grew up in Austria spending my summers in Croatia. My Croatian certainly isn't perfect, but I'm fluent and my Austrian friends certainly never get the feeling I'm unable to express myself when I'm talking to Croatian friends of mine.

I always start shaking my head when either Croats or Serbs tell me that they speak different languages, because frankly, I can't even tell them apart. Sometimes they find my notion of their languages' sameness offensive, which in turn I find offensively childish.

> Dude, that's like a guy from Alabama saying someone from England speaks a different language.

Related story: I grew up in northeastern USA. When I was young someone from Scotland came in for business. I went fishing with him and my dad. I had a hard time understanding most of what he said.

We use completely different scripts. And while the street language is the same, the moment you start getting formal, the languages start to differ widely. Non-colloquial Urdu is very influenced by Farsi, whereas non-colloquial Hindi is very influenced by Sanskrit.

It's kinda like Ubuntu vs Kubuntu. They're both Ubuntu, but with different Desktop Environments.

The irony with Hindi/Urdu is that both nations(or people of the nations) made it an issue of National pride.

India Sanskrit-ized it, Pakistan Persian-ized and Arab-ized it. Otherwise both were basically the same languages with different scripts.

Yes, Google is basically just a better X searching tool than X provides, where X is most every web site on earth.

I didn't want to go to far on an off-topic tangent, but basically what I was getting at was that I increasingly seem to be interested in a very limited number of sites -- that is, mostly, sites that I already know of and recognize.

I use Reddit search more when I'm doing exploratory searching hoping to land on a site I've never been before, because it serves me already vetted/reviewed sites. In this way, Google is no longer a tool for me to do search, where I'm not sure where I'll end up, it's now a tool to get me where I know I want to go (which happens to be some wikipedia page most of the times).

It is an interesting point. Google has become as much a substitute for the address bar as a way to find new things.

(If you don't have bookmarks or don't keep a browsing history / don't know how to use URL autocompletion).

I use autocomplete for commonly-visited sites, but Google plus vague memories of basic search terms have almost completely supplanted my use of bookmarks these days.

Web History can get you around the vagueness part. It has more that once helped me recall something along the lines of "What was that search result 3 items down from last week.."


I know quite a few people have this turned off due to some perceived "creepy" factor, but personally I cannot recommend it enough.

Especially since you can't bookmark everything, not knowing what you're going to want to refer to in the future.

Or rather you can bookmark everything, but the resulting list is nearly useless. I used to have a massive collection of bookmarks that I never referred to because it was far too large to actually use. Plus half the links had gone stale.

I'd like to suggest adopting something akin to the Dewey decimal system for your bookmarks. You don't have to create folders and subfolders but just prepend the number to the bookmark title. That way they get ordered in an alphabetic list.

In my experience, sorting by domain is usually enough.

Interesting you would mention Reddit search because I find the opposite, that Reddit's search functionality is lacking and Google will often find it easier (could definitely be bias though).

> I use Reddit search more when I'm doing exploratory searching hoping to land on a site I've never been before, because it serves me already vetted/reviewed sites.

In a somewhat similar way, I get a lot of good mileage out of hnsearch when investigating different technologies that I am new to.

Not at all. If you're filtering based on multiple categories, a search that understands them, even barebones, is better than a brilliant generic-text-search.

Maybe that is to ensure that the results remain stable after people start trying out those searches for themselves (and so Google doesn't endorse another company's services).

Wikipedia for results is definitely not the norm for Google searches in India---I just spent a month there and results can be anything from JustDial directory services (for phone numbers, since many local businesses don't have websites) to local newspapers (for reviews etc).

The utility of Google in India is that it provides you the best link across different websites. This is really important because India has a growing population of new Internet users (who don't have "go to" sites like Wikipedia and Yelp), and because it still doesn't have clear winners in many verticals (e.g. real estate)

> Google is basically a better Wikipedia searching tool than what Wikipedia provides.

isn't that true for most sites all around ? i, fwiw, normally just use site specific searches on almost all sites...

Ironically, Youtube is banned in Pakistan

Really? I counted exactly one wikipedia result that she used. The others were either websites, Google Maps, or Google Now results.

Also, unless I noticed wrong, there are no ads on the search results.

A bit off-topic here, but I would say the same thing applies to stackoverflow. Everytime I want to search something within stackoverflow I use google and specify the "site" operator[1]. Something like:

fast string search algorithm site:stackoverflow.com [2]

The results are much better than SO's custom search.

[1] https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/136861?hl=en

[2] https://www.google.com.br/search?q=string+search+algorithm+s...

Consider setting up a new "search engine" in chrome. You could alias https://www.google.com.br/search?q=%s+site%3Astackoverflow.c... to 'so', and type: so<tab>fast string search algorithm

And chrome would do the right thing.

DuckDuckGo also has the !so shortcut.

I believe you get the same effect by doing the following,

stackoverflow: fast string search algorithm

Doesn't Google absorb much of the cost of hosting Wikipedia for free?

This is the ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHGDN9-oFJE - be sure to have subtitles on (unless you understand Hindi).

Played the clip to some people in the house, they got teary eyed. Don't need a translation to get the message across which just proves it's a very well made ad.

add &yt:cc=on to the YouTube URL [0] to enable subtitles.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHGDN9-oFJE&yt:cc=on

As a fellow Indian, I just want to point out that this video and any other efforts to develop people-to-people relationships between India and Pakistan have zero effect on the ongoing conflicts between the nations. Indians love Pakistani singers, cricketers, food, their language(Weird, I'm not a native Hindi speaker. But people tell me that Pakistani's speak better Hindi than most Indians). I've heard from Pak friends that they too love Bollywood and many things India. Even Pak government doesn't wish any ill on India. However the Pak army and ISI have vested interests in keeping conflicts alive. They also fund terrorist organizations in every neighboring country possible. Lack of democracy in Pakistan(Elected governments get routinely overthrown in coups) is a greater problem than religious extremism.

By that extension, lack of democracy in Saudi Arabia, and Egypt was the root cause of all Islamic terrorism. Saudi's actively promote a version of Islam that promotes religious discord in muslim populations across the world. I think the US missed a huge opportunity in encouraging more democracy during Arab spring and even the Iranian uprising.

The longest running head of the Pakistan Army in recent decades, General Musharraf, who was also the military dictator of the country for a good portion of that, made a lot of overtures towards some semblance of improving relations. Just pointing out that the Pakistan Army has people in it who think more about than just conflict with India.

Ironic as Musharraf instigated and led the last major Pakistan/India skirmish/war, then moved on to talking peace.

Yeah right, he was the mastermind behind the bloody Kargil war. He is a nutcase like all the other Pak Army/ISI agents who dream about the demise of India, no matter if they burn their homeland to ashes in the process.

By that extension, lack of democracy in Saudi Arabia, and Egypt was the root cause of all Islamic terrorism. Saudi's actively promote a version of Islam that promotes religious discord in Muslim populations across the world.

I disagree with this statement. Saudi Arabia (& Egypt for that matter) can't be held directly responsible as one of the root causes of the current Islamic terror situation. Their idea to spread Islam by funding Islamic madrassas (schools that are usually near an Islamic mosque that typically teach the Quran in Classical Arabic) in places such as Afghanistan and Indonesia with their petro-dollars in the 70's up to the 90's was just a bit too idealistic. Of course, the fact that these schools (especially once Bin Laden was kicked out of Saudi Arabia and fled to Afghanistan) became ground zero for recruiting and training simple village kids into today's suicide bombers was something I doubt they could envision.

I was looking at some information about my grandparents (fairly wealthy second generation South African Muslims of Indian descent) and I expected to see a bunch of socially backward, repressed people. To my surprise, they were involved in poetry appreciation societies, sporting clubs and valued education highly. They wore western suits and hats and played cards. They were somewhat religious, but religion seemed to be more a pursuit for women. Many of that generation were involved in the anti-apartheid movement.

Interestingly, since the rise of the Tablighi Jamaat in the 1970s the general mood of wealthy South African Indian Muslims has become a lot more conservative. Beards and headscarves everywhere (it isn't unusual to see women with full face veils in the swankiest Johannesburg and Durban shopping malls), and even among the less religious, the mood is generally more conservative. Political participation seems to be in decline, except for Muslim-centric issues like Palestine. Since the end of apartheid, insularity has, in many ways increased. Recent Turkish immigrants provide some liberal religious influence, but they are outnumbered by conservative Paskitani immigrants. But even without these immigrants, the trend was becoming conservative.

In all, there seems to have been a worldwide shift to conservatism and insularity amongst Muslims in the past few decades. Not just in backwaters like Afghanistan. Saudi money cannot be the only explanation.

up until the 1970's the Middle East and Afghanistan was actually quite progressive:


From one of the caption: "The campus of the University of Kabul has changed little since then. It’s people who have changed. In the 50s-60s, the students preferred Western style clothes, and the young people of both sexes could freely communicate with each other."


Caption from the #7 photo: "Afghan girls coming home from school. "Afghan girls, as well as boys, were educated up to the high school level, and although girls (and boys) wore uniforms, the girls were not allowed to wear a chadri (burka) on their way to secondary school. Able young women attended college, as did the men." - Peg Podlich"

I'm not sure why exactly the pendulum swung so hard to conservative side, but it's been there ever since, much the determent of the people living there.

> I'm not sure why exactly the pendulum swung so hard to conservative side

In Afghanistan, because in the wake of the Soviet takeover, the US (and Pakistan and some others) threw lots of money into funding religious extremists to fight the Communists, which was eventually successful, at least to the extent of forcing out the Soviets and establishing something like control by the religious extremists of much of the country (though competing warlords were still a factor.)

To a certain extent, similar factors are present in the Middle East (at least to the extent of religious extremism being a product of forces that were backed by superpowers for geopolitical reasons during the Cold War.)

You didn't understand his comment.

There are different versions of Islam just like there are different versions of most other religions (e.g. Catholic vs Orthodox Christianity).

Saudi Arabia has a majority of Wahhabi followers. The Wahhabi sect of Islam promote extreme Islam, Shariah, etc..

These Wahhabi followers terrorize fellow Muslims who follow a different sect of Islam... their goal is to purge the world of infidel Islam and to put in Wahhabi Islam which they believe is the true version.

Saudi Arabia, as I said earlier has a majority of Wahhabis. They send these Wahhabi missionaries to other Muslim countries who follow moderate Islam and their goal is to convert the inhabitants to become extremists and in turn try to convert their fellow countrymen into extremists as well.

And just to make it clear, their conversion tactics include bombings, killings, etc.. So it isn't just a knock on the door and asking if someone has 15 minutes to talk about our lord and savior Muhhamed.

Source: my country has these scumbags.

There are numerous conservative Muslim movements. The Iranian Revolution was certainly not produced by Wahabis. The Deobandi movement, with its numerous offshoots, is not really Wahabi, despite some similarities. There are even Islamic movements like Dawat-e-Islami that could be seen as vehemently opposed to Wahabism that are very conservative.

Saudi Arabia may be pumping money into the "Wahabi cause" but it doesn't explain the whole picture.

You for got add your RAW and Indian army, mate.

I grew up an (Indian) Army brat, and have enough friends in there to say this: never did I hear a single Army officer express any desire to harm Pakistan by itself. The prevailing view was always "I wish these people would get over Kashmir and leave us alone". Take it for what it's worth.

The Pakistani Army controls a huge sector of the Pakistani economy, and benefits disproportionately in the budget. The only way they can maintain so much power is to have a low-level conflict going with India.

Tomorrow, if Pakistan and India signed a peace accord, and froze the borders where they are, the Pakistani Army would be basically useless. They don't want that.

Indian army and RAW are nowhere influential enough to be compared to Pak-army and ISI. India has done one good thing in establishing democracy - its political has curbed the military power from day 1 of independence. Unfortunately it is the opposite in Pakistan.

The first step towards mitigating problems is to acknowledge they exist. In the end, you can fool everyone but yourself. Food for thought :)

Colour me cynical, but when a corporation is under fire from consumers, regulators and activists, a soppy and heartstring-tugging ad is exactly what the doctors order.

It is literally Google saying, "Oh look, cute puppies!" when faced with a global barrage of criticism about its disdain for user privacy or its own past promises.

Um, large consumer companies release ads all the time, and google is always under fire by consumers, regulators and activists.

a. Google isn't just another "large consumer company"

b. Google being "always under fire" by consumers, regulators and activists is no reason to start letting it off the hook. In fact, it should be the converse.

I'm sure the people (read: individuals) who thought up this ad and executed it had their hearts in the right place. Just enjoy it for what it is. Not everything has to be viewed with such cynicism.

You seem to be saying: enjoy it for what it appears to be, exclude the actual purpose of the ad.

Have you ever worked at an advertising agency?

a) They aren't? Why not? b) You seem to be changing the nature of your objection. First you imply that they're under fire now because of privacy issues, then when GP points out they're always under fire for something you say that's no excuse to let them off the hook.

If you believe they're releasing this specifically because they're under fire, by that criteria it's never OK for them to release a "feelgood" ad.

As I recall, Google has been releasing feelgood ads for years - has it all been to nefarious purpose? They're a large consumer company. They're advertising - which includes tugging heartstrings if it gets them more customers.

>>Google has been releasing feelgood ads for years

Starting with "don't be evil." Whether Google has lived up to those lofty goals in the intervening years of working with the Chinese Government, the NSA, etc., I will leave to the reader to decide.

A bit of a deflection. My point is that advertising is released to advertise (a brand in this case) and there doesn't necessarily need to be nefarious purpose - beyond the basic manipulation of emotions to sell product.

Google's done several commercials, well before any of the recent furor. One of the first was "Parisian Love" which aired during the Superbowl in 2010. The more memorable one was "Dear Sophie" in 2011 which got a lot more coverage, and I believed that aired in the US as well. I'm not as cynical as you are about Google's motives here, but i would think that airing ads in the US would have far more of an impact on the US public and regulators than a foreign language ad in India.

Parisian Love: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnsSUqgkDwU Dear Sophie Lee: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4vkVHijdQk

Bang on! I don't think you are being cynical, you are being true! People across borders should stop being emotional over an advertisement by a multinational corporation. If they really have to become emotional, there is plenty of literature on this topic in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. And if they even want to take actions, there are many NGOs trying to ease up the visa procedure, raising awareness among the people etc. Talking about the technology, I think some years down the line all this will become some kind of "ambient technology", if you know what I mean.

Do you prefer the generic "people fiddling with their devices on a sunny day, female voice playing buzzword bingo in the background"? Props for Google for being ballsy.

I also love how people throw in the "multinational" qualifier as if this makes a company that much more evil.

I don't see how in any way Google is being "ballsy" here. It is a safe, soppy and relationships-oriented ad - in what world can that ever be "ballsy"?

Furthermore, I don't see the parent use the word "evil" in his comment.

That said, when a multinational that ferrets around billions of dollars in revenue around the world through obscure countries to avoid paying significant taxes in any of the countries it operates it [0], suddenly attempts to portray itself as warm, fuzzy and a big proponent of India-Pakistan friendship, forgive me for taking them at a lot less than face value.

[0] http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/10/to-reduce-its-tax-bu...

Yeah, except for the fact that they are dealing with relationships torn apart by partition.

They are not "dealing" with those relationships, but merely milking them.

IMHO, there is nothing ballsy about an ad; at the end of the day it is profit vs you. There are selling, you are getting emotional and consuming, exactly what they want. :) Well, some people tend to interpret in whatever way it suits them, but I don't think I meant evil when I said multi-national. If you get it, I was just referring to the scale of the company.

It would not surprise me if Google actually was taking action. They've been known to chime in on national politics here and there.

What magical action did you have in mind?

I don't, really. My point is that Google has shown that they're willing to act.

Here's the article that was submitted to HN about a recent thing:


Here's the HN discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4213162

I understand what you mean, but these two conflicts are nowhere near the same scale. Social rights issues have a lot of work done by lots of dedicated people over decades, until they reach a tipping point. A for-profit corporation, no matter how good at marketing, will not stake their financial health by going against massive consensus, they just don't have the political/financial freedom to do that. If they had to pick between India and Pakistan in an actual war, they would take sides according to their interest or get out of both, but that's about it.

Mainly though, the scale here is way off. Apologies for the sarcastic reply before.

No, I agree. In no way did I mean to suggest that Google was going to take the role of a UN with teeth, to mediate between different countries.

It would be more accurate for me to say that Google has a demonstrated willingness to allow their employees to contribute to political activism using company resources. Absolutely, it has a selfish motive, but it's a central principle of capitalism to leverage selfish motives into public goods. (No comment on the principle itself.)

Why is it such a huge revelation that advertising is created to benefit a business?

You've got a beautifully produced and captivating video, which makes no secret about advertising something. People enjoy it and engage with it, but then suddenly catch themselves: "Oh no! What if this advertisement was created... for profit?"

Of course it was! So what?

Motivation is all.

To created purely to give pleasure to people is one thing, it is an act of generosity and altruism, if it is done to manipulate, then it is something very different. PR and advertising are manipulations.

The worst thing is to see something like this, allow it to emotionally effect one, then discover at the end that is is a corporate manipulation. Dunno about others, but that makes me feel used.

>>The worst thing is to see something like this, allow it to emotionally effect one, then discover at the end that is is a corporate manipulation.

This is literally the entire advertising industry's purpose. If you think any single advertisement is not solely intended to trick you into equating good feelings with a particular brand, product, or person then you are very naive.

There is no such thing as advertisement that is made just "to give pleasure to people", even when it comes from Google.

I never said or implied any of that. I don't think you understood anything I said.

Firstly, I out lined a scenario where one didn't know the piece was an advert, and later discovered it was.

Second, I never said or implied an advert was to give pleasure.

If you want to call me naive, I then have to suggest you may be illiterate, or a at best imaginative.

All ads should make you feel used. If you don't then they have succeeded! There is no information-only ad.

Disagree. If that were the case people would not buy, as being "used" is negative. One is supposed to happily buy.

Yeah, I agree. here I am watching the ad, getting all emotional (I have some family in Pakistan, who moved their out of their own volition frankly) and I suddenly realize, wow I fell for this nauseatingly sweet ad!

You got me (almost) Google. And since when did they start showing ads in India?

(I feel strangely outsmarted again by them.)

What would be interesting to know is if India is basically virgin territory as far as Google (marketing) ideology. In other words, is Google free to start from scratch there, without (some clearly outlined) lofty promises?

This is not the first ad Google made. Do you remember all those Chrome ads about a family? This one just happens to be even more melodramatic. Nothing sinister going on here.

I agree. The fact that Youtube is too slow right now for me to even watch the video is just the icing on the cake...

We'll promise you that we won't be evil...;)

= We have too much dangerous information that will turn us into a monster, so don't blame us when that happens

Here is one real person driven to tears by the forced Google+ integration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ccxiwu4MaJs

I liked the box that pops immediately saying how the problem was promptly resolved by Google's representatives.

lol, thanks for sharing.

For those that don't understand the ad, the partition was, and to be honest, still is a very sensitive issue in India. My grandmother experienced it first-hand: people lost their homes, were separated from their families, and many people died along the migration from Pakistan to Punjab. There was no way for people to get back in touch... until now, which is why this Google ad is particularly poignant. As much as everyone here has loved to hate on Google for the past couple of weeks, the ad shows everyone just how valuable their products can be. It's certainly worth something... and it's a lot more meaningful than whatever Apple is doing with their marketing.

This is a beautiful ad and will make you emotional. As a person of Indian background I was able to relate to it easily but I wonder what others think of it? Are you able to feel the strong emotions based on reading subtitles or does language hamper the feelings and it loses its impact.

Kudos to the team involved in this and thanks for posting this.

I'm a Russian American. I've travelled to India for a few weeks and have some friends from the region, but I don't really understand the ethnic issues beyond a very surface level.

The ad made me very emotional. It's a very human story. The fact that the characters in the story happen to be from India and Pakistan are almost tangential to the point. The same story could have been told about east and west Germany before unification, and it would have been just as powerful.

At least for me, the background song (from renowned singer and lyricist 'Piyush Mishra') adds a LOT in making me emotional - which they didn't translate. So I decided to add a rough translation for the same in the comments, but thanks to new Google+ integration - only junk is at the top on Youtube now.

Here's it again (translation of only the BG song), timed for those who are interested:

0:59 : Those narrow streets of childhood jump in joy again ... Tying those little sweet thefts along with it ...

1:35: (Same two lines above, then ... ) Where I would fly like a kite, like a bird ... That was the time .. when my heart felt like a free peacock ...

2:21: When I would sit immersed in those paper boats all day long, ... or 'entangle' myself with those windows peeking outside ... Oh, what a time that was, when there were no restrictions in the heart ... ... That was the time .. when it felt like a free peacock ...

This is partly why I wonder if people can get the same emotional experience... Songs play such an important role in the Indian media and it can be very hard to describe. On the other hand I am glad to see that people still find it very moving (even from other cultures/languages).

Yes, the song is beautiful as well - thanks for translating it, although it's hard to do justice to the original.

Yes, agree. All the feelings in the original language can never be translated. The poetry is lost! I still love to translate things that move me, just to give non-Hindi speakers a rough context. :)

Being of Pakistani background, I could relate to it a lot. I'm actually just stunned by how well done the ad is in every aspect. I find it a little strange that a big Internet company did this, one wouldn't have expected such a thing. The reaction from my Pakistani friends is overwhelmingly positive too by the way.

It's just marketing. Wonder how well it worked and if they saw an increase in sales. :-)

I'm anglo-Australian, and this definitely was very moving, even though it's not something I can relate to on a personal level.

Agreed. I am also and I felt quite emotional!

No Indian background in me but I still teared up. This ad would work in any culture, but the separation they talk about in Indian culture makes it a realistic plot. All you need to relate is to understand what a good friendship is like, maybe even less than that.

American here, my experience with India/Pakistan is ordering "Indian Spicy" when I get my Chicken Vindaloo.

I've watched this advert a half dozen times and I end up pretty misty eyed every time.

I'm from the US, my parents are of European descent. I've never been to India, and I only know English. The story moved me, and it likely would have even without the subtitles.

Nope, had me weeping like a big white baby.

It was absolutely beautiful, and I watched it without subtitles. The searches are in English, and there is an intro on the page that gives you enough information to let the images and the music do the talking.

I don't think subtitles were a barrier for the emotions transmitted by the video. At least not for em personally.

No, subtitles don't get in the way at all :')

Texan here. The ad series is great - I don't necessarily relate to the India/Pakistan split well, but the emotion presented in the ad is quite easy to relate to.

The feeling of being separated from someone you love and missing them deeply is pretty universal. I tear up every time I see the ad.

I haven't felt such loss from a video since Snoopy Come Home.

Behind the division of the sub-continent lies a great debate, that of Jinnah vs Gandhi. Was it the true aspiration of the people to get divided geographically while getting independence from British rule? It seems the divide happened because of some ideology driven people (Iqbal) who convinced other leaders (Jinnah) to pursue it. Today, this is a raging battle in Pakistan, did Pakistan ever need to be an independent country, considering how peacefully muslims are living in India vs the ready-to-cut-throats Pakistanis?

For those interested in history, Freedom at Midnight is a great documentary book on the liberation and subsequent partition of India: http://www.amazon.com/Freedom-at-Midnight-Dominique-Lapierre...

It's a sad fact that the departure of the British Empire from various colonial possessions frequently resulted in a power vacuum followed by deep internal conflicts which remain problematic today - Ireland, Israel, and India being three obvious examples.

> It's a sad fact that the departure of the British Empire from various colonial possessions frequently resulted in a power vacuum followed by deep internal conflicts which remain problematic today - Ireland, Israel, and India being three obvious examples.

Let's not be overly generous.

I won't speak to Ireland or Israel, but in the case of India, the political strife was not a coincidence - it was the all-but-deliberate result of the British. They actively funded terrorist groups on conflicting sides with the express goal of dividing the region not just geographically (Partition), but ideologically and politically.

(This is, of course, not too different from the US funding terrorist groups when it is politically convenient to do so, and then invading foreign countries to overthrow the rulers brought to power by those same terrorist groups, when it becomes politically convenient to do that instead.)

> They actively funded terrorist groups on conflicting sides with the express goal of dividing the region not just geographically (Partition), but ideologically and politically.

Can you give me some specific examples of terrorist groups? From my readings, the British just successfully managed to divide the Hindu and Muslim populations using discriminating policies (like the pig / cow oil on guns in the 1800s), and let the divisions play out. They did support Gandhi and Jinnah, but I never came across them actively funding terrorist organizations.

>It's a sad fact that the departure of the British Empire from various colonial possessions frequently resulted in a power vacuum followed by deep internal conflicts which remain problematic today - Ireland, Israel, and India being three obvious examples.

Not a "sad fact". It's how the "british empire" planned it, melticulously and with great effort and cunning.

It's a result of their "divide and conquer" way of ruling, in their colonial era, and it's something they pursued afterwards in order to keep it's post colonial grip on those places. With lackeys, puppet governments et al.

Oh, and add Cyprus/Nothern Cyprus, Ethiopia/Eritrea etc to the mix.

You seem to think I'm saying it was unavoidable/inevitable, but I'm deliberately abstaining from commentary on the causes. Being Irish myself, I have my opinions about this but this doesn't seem like the place to air them.

I had a very different take on this book - instead of copy pasting, I'll just point you to my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/627096724

Sounds like you were looking for a polemic and were disappointed to documentary work instead. Strangely enough I lerned a great deal about colonial misrule of India from reading the same book, but that doesn't make the viewpoints of the pro-empire participants less interesting.

Au contraire. It is not polemic to call a spade a spade. Nor it is documentary work to propagate a biased and watered down version. In fact, it is propaganda. If you have the appetite for colonial misrule these articles might help paint a backdrop:

1. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1908/10/the-new-...

2. http://www.celdf.org/downloads/NATURE%20and%20EMPIRE%20-%20L...

That summary's not particularly on the mark in the case of Ireland.

Pakistan is a pretty screwed up country in a great many ways, and much of their problems are due to Islam having such a central role in the identify of the country. I think they have the capacity to get past their problems but they have as difficult a problem ahead of them as does Iraq, Syria, or Lebanon.

On a meta-level it's fascinating how the vast majority of countries in the world still tend to be mono-ethnic "nation states". Even in the most westernized parts of Europe there are overarching tendencies for nations to fly apart into their component sub-ethnicities rather than to stick together based on belief in common values. Look at Britain and the ongoing discontent of Wales and Scottland, let alone Northern Ireland. Or Belgium threatening to split into two countries. Or the Basques in Spain. Or the history of Czechoslovakia, the USSR, Yugoslavia, etc.

> and much of their problems are due Islam having such a central role in the identify of the country.

Not really. The East Pakistan/West Pakistan war (which resulted in an independant Bangladesh) was between Muslim groups with little religious difference, but huge language, class, and cultral bigotry, with the Urdu-speaking West Pakistani-dominated millitary having a significant role.

Islam was pretty irrelevant. And my impression is that much of the harshest religious conflict in India itself owes plenty to Hindu extremists.

(From my POV the biggest problem in Pakistan is that a minority of usually millitary-backed elites remain in power, no matter how corrupt or awful they are, because they attract US support so long as they pretended to battle Communism during the Cold War, and now radical Islam. But actual Pakistanis or real experts on Pakistani politics may wish to correct me.)

It brings me memories of the violent riots because certain stores were celebrating Valentines Day in India.

There were no such riots , citations please !

well that anti-Islam rant might work IF there was no Islamic nation that wasn't peaceful.

If I said that "much of the problems in the deep South in the United States are due to the prominence of Christianity in their culture" nobody would bat an eye, and nobody would read it as being anti-Christian.

Denying that there are very real problems within the Islamic world, some of which are core to the religion, is an example of naivete, ignorance, or propaganda.

Consider my eye batted. I don't think Jesus was a huge proponent of slaves.

> If I said that "much of the problems in the deep South in the United States are due to the prominence of Christianity in their culture" nobody would bat an eye

I would.

There's a complex two-way interplay between the particular forms of Christianity that are common in the deep South and the deep seated history of conflict, division, etc., in the region, but to portray the problems as the result of Christianity qua Christianity is, at best, simply useless.

Totally agreed with you. Accepting the problem is the first step to fixing it. Simply denying will lead no where.

I think you have a quadruple negative going on there. Not trying to nitpick, but it was too hard for my currently sleepy brain to parse.

Appropriately reflecting the cognitive impairment of bigotry

It is but a surprise, that the states in India have not seceded.

Amazing work!

What strikes me most is how little the language matters. You don't even have to watch it with subtitles to see how solid the editing was. Kudos to the entire team that worked on these videos.

the subtitles might have been a bit more necessary if all the on-screen text wasn't in english. That seemed like a strange choice for an ad produced by Google India.

English is one of the official languages of India and almost all people who are wealthy enough to own a smartphone browse in English.

In fact, many kids actually go to schools where English is the primary teaching language - it's not uncommon for kids to not know how to say the days of the week in Hindi.

I really wouldn't be able to find my way around the internet or on my cellphone if all the text were in Hindi. It stands true for most Indians.

The official languages of India are Hindi and English.

Not to be pedantic but Hindi is not India's official language, it's only English. Hindi is the national language but English is still the only language for official communications including that of the government.

Not sure about Urdu's status in Pakistan though.

Given all the comments about Google and Wikipedia, it's funny how you forgot to lookup Hindi. It is in fact an official language of India. Please gets your facts right.

Incorrect. Hindi and English are the two official languages. There is no "national language", officially.

And the official languages of Pakistan are Urdu and English.

...And, yes, I just Googled this question and got the answer from Wikipedia.

Well, yes, yay Google+Wikipedia, but at any rate it's not surprising to see English used in ads produced for India and/or Pakistan.

Each Indian state can legislate its own official language.

I can recall some discussion in Wikipedia that suggests India has about 14 official languages (not just Hindi and English).

English is widely used throughout India, as it's the "national link language" according to the constitution. Most advertisements, street signs and stores contain lots of English.

I've never been to any other country where mastery of a national language was as poor as English in India. This goes for both written and spoken language.

How many countries have you been to where there are 20+ "official" languages ? The point is that English (even though official) is not the only language of importance and most states/regions/cities have their own languages that are spoken . English glues things together but more like a duct tape. Hence, a lot of people (specially the poor) don't learn English as part of their daily curriculum and that really varies depending on the region.

Thanks for these links.

Just a bit unlikely that Ali would be able to read 'saunf' in Devanagari, isn't it?

The romanized form "Saumfa" is also shown in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYVoM8tgbvA#t=0m26s .

Ah, yes. It's just that I'd expect Ali to search for "fennel in urdu", which does show the same word in Nastaliq.

yes but it said saunf in Roman below the huge Devanagari :) he had to search in hindi because they were in India and maybe saunf is called something else there.

Right, that makes sense.

> Just a bit unlikely that Ali would be able to read 'saunf' in Devanagari, isn't it?


Because Devanagari isn't taught at the school level in Pakistan, I'd guess.

But the person searching it was in India, wasn't he?

Yes, asadlionpk pointed out the same thing, and I agree that it makes sense in that context (that Ali could not assume fennel is 'saunf' in India as well).

They built a nice series of shorter vignettes based on the original ad.[1] These are perhaps less easily translated but they are sure to tug at the heartstrings of a subcontinental audience. Cricket, biryani and street food - who knew power-cuts and diabetes could evoke such nostalgia!

Well played, Google. I'll refrain from criticizing you for the next hour or so! :-)

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYVoM8tgbvA&feature=c4-overv...

Yes I was suitably manipulated. Good job, mass emotional manipulation team!

But I am surprised they showed people searching for flight status and weather. Google Now is supposed to already know you're going to Delhi and just show you the weather there without you asking. Same for the flight status.

"Yes I was suitably manipulated. Good job, mass emotional manipulation team!" - thrownaway2424

Just agreeing with your sentiment, might as well share the downvotes.

It is supposed to know only when you have the itinerary sent to your Gmail. And some people might just disable Google Now and/or 'location services' altogether.

Hiding behind a throwaway account, taking anonymous potshots? Goodness!

The original concept was produced in a video by Pak Sar Zameen Productions on December 12, 2012


Naw, this goes way back. The group Junoon had Ghoom Taana. And lots more before that. It's not a rip off

Sorry. No cc https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=86...

The most interesting aspect of this video - other than the clearly emotional storyline - was how closely it reflects the way most of us use the web, smartphones, and yes - Google - to manage our day-to-day lives. A search for a landmark, a shop, to answer a quick question, to check the weather, to book a flight. Even more remarkable how almost none of this was possible a mere 10 years ago - at least not from the palm of our hand.

Very Interesting Ad and as being a Pakistani I can actually feel it. Although, technically finding places in Pakistan using Google Maps is not as easy as shown in the video. There are still many problems with wrong land marks and more.

But as a whole the content of the ad is very strong and positive that it can touch million more hearts!

Great ad. Here's something similar, by Coca-Cola: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ts_4vOUDImE.

Not as emotional, but quite good.

Hell, I'm just some random white guy in the US and the ad made me tear up. Yes, it was made for effect. Whether it was made by the newest evil corporation or not is irrelevant. The feelings it invokes are genuine.

I wish Google could also improve the visa process for India which gets a brief cameo in the video. I've been trying for weeks to obtain a visa now and have been thwarted by the Indian government and its designated consultant's computer systems at every turn. It's to the point I've given up and am going to pay for a service to do it.

Are you from Pakistan? or somewhere else?

For Americans getting a visa seems to be easy. Maybe not for some other countries?

The sad part is as an Indian myself I know that the reality is much different. If I started calling Pakistani phones the government will probably start investigating me for being a suspected terrorist and the old gentleman from Pakistan will never get a visa so swiftly. It's perhaps true the other way around.

Even if people want to come closer the state and politics always gets in the way.

This ad makes me tear up every time and the music is what takes it over the edge for me. The ad is scored so beautifully, the melodies and arrangements are incredible. Even though I can't understand what the singer is saying, I can definitely feel the emotions in his voice.

"This Google ad has moved people to tears across India and Pakistan"

Probably not all across India. I am from the south and neither me nor my ancestors have any personal experiences from the partition. Don't get me wrong.. this is a great ad and I understand the emotion behind it. but this is only as moving as a similar story on the Israel-Palestine border(ok maybe a little more because of my high school history books and representation in popular culture). Culturally, South India is more seperated from the North compared with North India (Punjab, Delhi, Kashmir) and Western regions of Pakistan.

To me this is a well produced ad which highlights the troubles of a particularly cruel time in India's history. Nothing personal about it.

I'll probably get downvotes, but here goes: I liked the ad, it moved me, it didn't bother that it was from a big corporation (re the discussion below). What bothers me in ads, and in movies etc, is how the men can always be some regular looking man, sometimes even ugly, while the women always have to be very attractive. I know I'll get called on for being too P.C. for this but c'mon, does it always have to be a very attractive indian girl? Does Virginia Woolf need to be played by Nicole Kidman? Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo? The biopics about men aren't always played by Tom Cruises.

Here's the story of Saroo Munshi Khan finding his home/family 26 years after he lost them with the help of Google Earth:


He wrote a book about his experience: "A Long Way Home" (http://www.penguin.com.au/products/9780670077045/long-way-ho...)

It's a pleasant ad, though it also reminds me of http://www.stevenlevy.com/index.php/05/08/the-sophie-choice :

"There were no actors seen in the Super Bowl commercial, and that was part of its charm: even though it broke one taboo, it maintained the company’s geeky dignity of logic and verifiability. The star was the stuff that appeared on the computer screen. But “Dear Sophie” is more of a classic form of Madison Avenue pitching. It’s probably something that Don Draper would come up with if Larry and Sergey were his clients. They would tell him that their product, the Chrome browser, has a lot going for it over its competitors, like speedier response and a single box to type in addresses and search queries. It runs Web applications more efficiently than other browsers, they’d tell him, and if everyone used it, it would hasten a new paradigm of cloud apps. Draper would say that all that stuff is well and good. But for our commercial, we’re going to show a tear-jerking evocation of a father compiling an online scrapbook for to his daughter as she grows up.

Straight out of the Kodak playbook–don’t brag about your specs, but play that song about Where Are You Going My Little One, and out will come the handkerchiefs. It’s also a stratagem used by banks and insurance companies."

Mind you, that was two years ago and feels somewhat like ancient history now.

How many of you paused the video to search for "jhajariya" and clicked on the Wikipedia link?

Not paused but searched after the video ends :). And 'verified' that the correct definition does appear. :P

I did.

The expected definition appeared.

And the first two "Images for jhajariya" were frames from the ad.

I hope this is still hacker news rather than some emotional fools forum who ignore realities.

Don't worry, I'm sure someone will come along to comment on the web design on some computer screen in the background. And that will be OK.

Better would be if someone discuss how we can bring up http://extendedsubset.com ;)

How important is it for you that we bring back the old content?

Well that's a remarkably narrow view of what should appear on HN!

I didn't say what should appear on HN (that would make the the set narrow), I just expressed something that shouldn't be here (that leave it wide wide open to many things)

You still narrowed the set of things that should be on HN. By expressing the set of things that should not appear on HN, you actually do dictate what should appear on HN. i.e. anything can appear on HN except xyz.

May be my definition of HN being "news platform for news which justify the philosophy of word hacker" being wrong and I should just refer HN as "just another any news dumping area which has the word Hacker just as a word"

Well, it might be a good moment to review the submission guidelines:

On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.


A Pakistani girl showed this video to me early this year, and she was in fact very moved.

The Pakistan - India divide is a tragedy of religion and politics, foreign and domestic.

The India Pakistan separation has left a scar on the hearts of several generations. Power hungry and religious fanatics caused this separation. Today's youth view the separation as a boon, but the million people killed in the riots and other millions made homeless still haunts and affects the geopolitics of the region.

Well it's moving someone to tears in the ol' USA too.

So, the oldest sweet shop in Lahore just happened to be owned by Yusuf's grandson? How?

From the initial conversation between Baldev and Suman, it's clear that the sweet shop has been owned by Yusuf's family for several generations. Not sure how Suman knew it was the oldest though, unless Baldev told her that and the subtitles just didn't translate it.

Oh yes, we have the best sweets, and the most awesome Curry in Lahore. That is one thing we are extremely proud of. So people on Hackernews, next time you plan on taking a trip, come over to Pakistan for some of the most awesome culinary delights!

Let's not forget it's an Ad only.

Emotional Marketing?

God bless Capitalism!

Just wondering if reactions would be as positive if the product wasn't Google but, I don't know, Glock pistols or Royal Dutch Shell (aired 7 days after an oil spill). You could change the story to fit almost anything, after all.

Like many of you said, it's true that Urdu and Hindi are pretty much the same when it comes to the colloquial, spoken form of the languages. However, when you experience more advanced usages of the languages, they begin to sound totally different. Watch a news broadcast in Hindi and Urdu and you'll see what I mean. The formerly seemingly identical languages diverge sharply in academic settings and literature because Urdu borrows it's more advanced words from Persian which in turn borrowed these words from Arabic whereas the more advanced Hindi vocabulary is based on Sanskrit.

Not to mention the script is totally different.

You don't need to be Indian or Pakistani to be moved to tears by this ad...

I grew up in and around Mumbai...the ad is (unsurprisingly) quite disconnected from the facts on the ground but holy cow. Great production values, great storytelling, relevant tie-ins to Google products. Just great.

So half a day later, and no one on HN noticed the most interesting fact about the ad was its THREE AND A HALF MINUTES LONG?

I mean I've had mythtv and commercial skipping for I guess over a decade now and I adblock all browsers etc but do people "out there" really sit thru almost four minute long advertisements? Back when I used to watch them, commercials were long enough for a bathroom break, sounds like commercial breaks are approaching "short workout followed by a shower" or perhaps "cook and eat some hot pockets" length of time.

There are plenty of long ads around.

Sometimes they're good, and I don't mind sitting through them. There's one featuring a British Bi-Athlete (skiing, shooting). I have no idea what it's advertising. I looked up the gun he was using and they do a really neat laser & target system. Like Tin Can Alley but for adults.

Long ads are much less impressive when they're repeatedly something I have zero interest in ("It's showtime, you've been coding like a beast "[SKIP]) or when they're lousy ads created by people who don't know what they're doing.

I usually leave them running in another tab until the content is ready. I understand why other people would hate them and want to ad block them.

Also: I have zero interest in gambling, and I never want to see a gambling ad, but I get loads. I wonder what recovering alcoholics or addicted gamblers could do to prevent those ads from appearing, other than using ad-block?

"I understand why other people would hate them and want to ad block them."

Its not hate so much as being an unactionable distraction that interferes with buy the perry the platypus wooden action figure it does nothing... oh wait see how annoying that interruption was and how little it added to the conversation?

Personally I prefer paid promotional product placement. So I was working on a S-100 circuit board in my basement "lab" last night using my Hakko model 937 digital temperature soldering iron with 1/16th inch tip (or whatever millimeters it is) and my Kester no-kleen #235 flux 0.02 dia solder (well you get the idea) Like how most hollywood computers happen to be Apples.

The internet no longer has limits put there by broadcast TV. Made-for-internet programming episodes don't have to be 60-minutes-including-ads so they are now being produced in wildly variable lengths per episode.

Ads for the internet are the same - their length is restricted only by the viewer's attention span. Seems like this ad's producer nailed it.

I like the "south park episode with ancient aliens" part most. http://i.imgur.com/ZDoYFdR.png

Interesting point is that no sweet shop owner knows any sweet by the name of 'Jhajaria' in Lahore. Even 'Fazal Sweets' shown in this ad doesnt know about it. Same seems to be the case in India: http://thedailyretard.in/demand-for-jhajariya-on-the-rise-af...

great ad..well done google. Maybe it takes a neutral 3rd party to make bothers start talking. Can we get a north korean version next?

Superb advert.

Slightly amused after realising that the first thing I then did was use Facebook search to find Google's page to share it.

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