Google has launched the Endangered Languages Project, an interactive website for people to share and access recent information on endangered languages. Google partnered with the Alliance for Language Diversity, as well as twenty-eight other organizations, in creating the project.
The objective of the Endangered Languages Project is to provide "an online resource to record, access, and share samples and research on endangered languages, as well as to share advice and best practices for those working to document or strengthen languages under threat."
The project uses various technologies such as Google Maps, YouTube and Google Groups to allow people to share and access information that pertain to endangered languages.
Google is one of the site's major developers, however they hope to eventually hand it over to the First Peoples' Cultural Council and The Institute for Language Information and Technology at Eastern Michigan University. The website describes these organizations as "true experts in the field of language preservation."
The companies responsible for the Endangered Languages Project see great need for this kind of resource, as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has predicted that close to half of the world's 7,000 languages will no longer exist in the next 100 years if nothing is done to preserve them.
"Documenting the 3,000+ languages that are on the verge of extinction is an important step in preserving cultural diversity, honoring the knowledge of our elders, and empowering our youth. Technology can strengthen these efforts by helping people create high-quality recordings of their elders (often the last speakers of a language), connecting diaspora communities through social media, and facilitating language learning," wrote Clara Rivera Rodriguez and Jason Rissman, project managers for the Endangered Language Project.
Hopes are that with Google's involvement in addressing the topic of language preservation, that people will take it more seriously and will be inspired to join the efforts in keeping disappearing languages alive.