For the first time in years, I’m absolutely floored by a new Chinese IME. Google just came out of nowhere, slapped their Google Pinyin up for download and humbled the competition. Like other IMEs, Google Pinyin uses a word’s context to figure out which character to input. It’s just a lot better at it. I really can’t get over how intelligent this IME is. It handles mis-ordered n’s and g’s or z’s and h’s, and it’s even pretty good about knowing when just output English.

Google Pinyin Rocks!!!Just as Microsoft has, Google has put far more work into input for mainland users than for those using traditional characters in Taiwan. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Google Pinyin can be set to output traditional characters. Even though I’m much more used to using zhuyin input, I find Google Pinyin to be faster than Microsoft’s traditional Chinese IME, especially if I’m typing full paragraphs of text. It really saves a lot of time not having to switch out of the IME every time I want to type a punctuation mark.

Setting Google Pinyin to output traditional Chinese

Just click on the pair of cogs at the right hand side of the Google Pinyin toolbar, then select 属性没值, click the 词典 tab, click the 繁体模式 checkbox and then accept. You’ll then be typing in traditional characters!

Update: Holly, Fili, Mark S., and Brendan have all written about Google Pinyin, too.