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Baybayin, native scripts preserved online with smartphones’ Gboard

Baybayin smartphones’ Gboard
Google added Baybayin and 3 other Philippine indigenous scripts to the Gboard, bringing up the total to 23 local languages available on the virtual keyboard. Credits to Gboard.

The Philippines’ indigenous writing systems – the Baybayin, Buhid, Hanunuo, and Tagbanwa – have been preserved online through the Google Gboard for smartphones.

Google announced on Thursday the inclusion of the native scripts in the latest update on its Gboard virtual keyboard for Android phones.

The virtual keyboard, which already supports 19 languages from the Philippines, now also allows users to discover and write using the country’s ethnic writing systems.

Good News Pilipinas learned in the media presentation at Google Philippines’ headquarters in Taguig that the Gboard update is part of the company’s efforts to help preserve the local languages. Google notes that 175 out of the 185 officially-listed languages in the Philippines are indigenous. Eleven of these are in danger of vanishing.

Good News Pilipinas writer and social media manager Atom Pornel tries his hand at writing Baybayin by hand and thru the Gboard. Credits to the author.

“At Google, we are committed to helping preserve the country’s local languages and scripts through relevant technology. Adding more Filipino languages and scripts on helpful products like Translate and Gboard is one of the ways we show this commitment,” Google Philippines Marketing Head Gabby Roxas stated during its office celebration of Buwan ng Wika in the Philippines.

Roxas also encouraged the gathered media to learn to use Baybayin and the other native scripts. To initiate the media’s learning process, Google Philippines had calligraphist and Baybayin advocate, Taipan Lucero, facilitate a workshop on writing the indigenous script, by hand, on paper. Google officials also had the participants use the Gboard to send information using Baybayin.

The Google Gboard, a mobile app that enhances the keyboard of messaging apps and devices, allows for internet searching and sending information, emojis, and access to Google Translate – directly from the keyboard.

A message written in Baybayin by nationalist artist Taipan Lucero.

The internet industry giant had previously called for the preservation of Puerto Princesa Underground River and continues to showcase the Philippines though the Google Doodles.

Google Philippines also recently brought together a select group of news organizations for a Google News Initiative session on newsgathering using technology.

Here are more ways to learn Baybayin using technology.

CHECK OUT the Baybayin and other Philippine languages on Gboard and TELL US in the comments below how you enjoyed learning new things while preserving local languages with technology!

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Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie Quadra-Balibay
Angie is a self-confessed reformed news critic who vows she has finally found infinite value in delivering the good news. She teaches students of all ages how to make the important interesting for audiences across media platforms.

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