Google users in Cambodia were surprised to find that when they visit www.google.com, the site redirects them to www.google.com.kh domain. In early December the largest web search company launched Google Cambodia domain that provides users the possibility of finding information in Khmer, the official language of Cambodia.
“Today, to my surprise, I found Google with new Cambodia domain (previous unofficial Google for Cambodia domain is http://www.google.com/intl/km/),” wrote Sopheak, a Cambodian blogger who publishes weblog posts in his native language.
A number of reports from Cambodia, mostly by technology enthusiasts, indicate positive response to Google stepping to the niche market. “Just noticed that Google finally accepts Khmer. For example, search for ភាសាខ្មែរ (“Khmer” in Khmer)… not that many results there yet, but it’s nice to see things going forward for Khmer language,” an expat working as a web designer mentioned on his weblog.
A screenshot of Khmer-language version of Google homepage
The news of Google's launch of the Khmer language got a mention in Cambodia's popular multilingual newspaper, the Cambodia Daily. The full version of the text can be found here.
As quoted in the newspaper, Intel Corporation representatives believed that only 12 percent of Cambodians had access to the Internet.
The mission of Google, the leading online search, is to organize the world's information. This big idea behind the success of company's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin makes Google to the first choice of most Internet users in online engine.
Vutha at ‘We always go forward over the world’ noted that: “Recently, Google Company launched the Google Cambodia domain (www.google.com.kh). By the way, we can type in Khmer Unicode to search for something. In the result, in the near future, we, cambodians, will use Khmer Unicod Font instead of other Khmer fonts like ABC font, Limon and so on.” And more comprehensive coverage was made available by a long-time Cambodia blogger at ‘webbed feet’.
It has been in development for some time but if you're checking from Cambodia the link on the main page to Google Khmer went live only about a day ago. I haven't spotted an official press release from Google so I think it's in beta. Even several months ago Khmer queries were working, but there wasn't much indexing.
However, without font uniformity among users, they cannot read e-mail, documentation, or web-pages unless they have the exact matching font installed on their personal computers. Publishing information on to a Web site and weblog in Khmer language is labor-intensive.