Is there any reason that TextIO couldn't be expanded to read from UTF-16 or UTF-32 encoded files?
Certainly Python and Java strings support UTF-16, so there shouldn't be additional complication there.
This would make Beam able to process non-latin character sets more easily. It would also alleviate a bug I ran into while doing the MinimalWordCount tutorial: the first dataset you find if you Google "shakespeare corpus" (http://lexically.net/wordsmith/support/shakespeare.html
) is UTF-16 encoded. The first byte of each UTF-16 character gets interpreted as a non-letter UTF-8 character, and the pipeline gives a letter count instead. However, I think being able to handle non-western languages would be the far greater benefit from this.