In its bid to make the Internet more accessible, Google unveiled a few products at its “Google for India” 2019 conference. The company revealed details regarding Google’s AI lab in Bengaluru, BSNL partnership and ‘Google Pay for Business’ app for merchants. The search giant also asserted that it is adding more Indian languages to its products, including Assistant, Discover, Lens and Bolo app.
The company is adding support for nine Indian languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam and Urdu. For example, those users desiring to talk to Google Assistant in the Hindi language can now just say, “Hey Google, talk to me in Hindi”. The interpreter mode will also be added to Assistant on Android and Android Go phones in the coming months.
At the fifth edition of the annual ‘Google for India’ event, the company also launched tokenized cards for debit card and credit card users across India. It introduced a “Spot” platform for Google Pay. This is for merchants to create branded commercial experiences that bridge the offline and online worlds. The software giant also announced a new initiative focusing on entry-level jobs, and a partnership with the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC).
“Digital India was designed to ensure digital inclusion. I wish to compliment Google for launching so many new products contributing to this goal with due regard to safety and security,” said Telecom and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was the chief guest at the event. “I don’t have the slightest doubt that Google has a crucial role in helping India achieve its goal of a trillion-dollar digital economy,” Prasad added.
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) lab that Google has in Bengaluru will focus on advancing fundamental computer science and AI research. It will then apply this research to tackle big problems in fields like healthcare, agriculture, and education.
“With Google’s ongoing commitment to improve access beyond train stations to villages across India, we have partnered with BSNL to bring fast, reliable and secure public WiFi to villages in Gujarat, Bihar and Maharashtra,” announced Caesar Sengupta, Vice-President, Next Billion Users Initiative and Payments. Google also announced an initiative to help the hundreds of millions of Indians who use 2G phones get the information they need, without requiring data or an internet connection.
The company also launched The Vodafone-Idea Phone Line — supported by Google Assistant that enables Vodafone-Idea users to call a single number free of charge (000 800 9191000), at any time. Users can then get information on everything from sports scores, traffic conditions, and weather forecasts.
Yossi Matias, Vice President, Engineering, Google, said, “We are adding more Indian languages to Discover, a Google feed that gives Indians updates on the stories they care about.” Google’s Bolo app, which helps children learn to read, now supports five new Indian languages, including Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. Google Lens, which allows people to search for information, will now ask questions and translate text by pointing phone’s camera at things users are interested in. It will be available in Tamil, Telugu and Marathi.
“In the last 12 months alone, Google Pay has grown 3X to reach to 67 million monthly active users, driving transactions worth over $110 billion on an annualized basis, with hundreds of thousands of offline and online merchants,” Ambarish Kenghe, Director, Product Management, Google Pay Kenghe said.
– With inputs from IANS