Google Translate is so incredibly good — especially for typing Chinese and producing Pinyin (Romanization) with tones — that I rely on it a lot and am always afraid that, like so many software developers (e.g., Microsoft), they are going to add some unwanted bells and whistles or take away some basic features. So today, when I turned on my Google Translate and saw a new wrinkle in the bottom left corner of the box into which you input Chinese, I was worried that it would lose the features that make it so easy for me to enter text.
What I saw was a little button marked just pīn 拼. Of course, I knew that must refer to Pinyin Romanization producing simplified characters, but I was concerned that the system wouldn't work the same way it used to. Then I clicked on the button and it dropped down choices for Wubi (PRC shape-based inputting system), Bopomofo (Taiwan Phonetic Symbols), and Pinyin producing traditional characters.
I thought to myself that the Wubi and the Bopomofo must have been added at the request of partisans of those systems, but that they are unnecessary for 99% of potential users of Google Translate. In the whole world, there are probably no more than thirty million people who would be likely to use Bopomofo to enter Chinese, and the demanding, difficult Wubi ("Five Stroke") method is proficiently used almost entirely by professional typists in the PRC, so there are maybe another thirty million potential users of Google Translate's Wubi function. (Of course, that is just a very rough guesstimate, but of the hundreds of Chinese I know who regularly input Chinese, only one can use Wubi fairly well and another one can use it rather poorly; all the rest use Pinyin, except for a tiny percentage who write the characters with a stylus or their fingertip; a relatively small number of people in Hong Kong [around seven million population] use Cangjie or other shape-based inputting system].)
In contrast to the Wubi and Bopomofo entry methods, which are useless to me and to most people, I am very happy now to have the capability to enter traditional characters directly with Pinyin. Before, I could produce traditional characters with Google Translate, but it required a somewhat time-consuming, round-about, cut-and-paste procedure.
[N.B.: I actually learned much of my Chinese by relying on Bopomofo, but that was long ago in Taiwan. Nowadays there are very few people outside the island of Taiwan who are familiar with it. I now am an ardent advocate of Pinyin-annotated character texts, which would fulfill the same function as the widely available Bopomofo-annotated character texts that I relied on so heavily during my first five years of learning Chinese.]
All in all, the changes in the bottom left corner of the Google Translate Chinese inputting box are welcome. There's probably no harm done by adding the Wubi and Bopomofo (so long as including them hasn't increased the complexity of the overall system to the point that it is less efficient than before) and doing so has likely made several million people happy. Having direct Pinyin access to the traditional characters is definitely a boon for those who favor the full forms of the characters.