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New SNS uses Olympics to spread neighbourly love

Other social networks are available - particularly in Japan and China

If you've not been to the Far East, you may not be aware that Japan is about as popular in much of the region as a priest at a choirboys' convention, so it's a little odd to discover a social website designed to foster ties between China and Japan.

We won't go into the history of the antipathy felt in China for its neighbour, but will point out that Talk Feel has been created by an arm of the former state telecoms monopoly in Japan, NTT Communications.

Olympics the key

Politics aside, Talk Feel has just launched to coincide, unsurprisingly, with the Beijing Olympics. The core of the site is a machine-translation (MT) engine that translates postings from Chinese to Japanese and vice versa.

A quick tour of the network reveals plenty of talk about Japanese gold medals in judo and much discussion of inter-state rivalries in other sports, but precious little else.

Keep it short

At the minute, the MT can handle only brief snippets of text at a time, which makes Talk Feel a rather 'bitty' experience. Still, that may be better than allowing full-blown flame wars of the sort that characterise many other Asian social networks.