The number of internet users in India has seen a great surge in recent years. The country with a population of more than 130 billion people has about 400 million-plus smartphone users, and the number continues to swell at a high rate. Google realized the opportunity that India offers very early on and has been developing apps and features critical to solving problems of the Indian community.
Each year, the search engine giant hosts Google for India event to share its vision for the country. In its fifth year, Google made several exciting announcements centered around the Indian audience.
To mention a few, the Google app now supports three more Indic languages, Discover tab will push content in more languages, and apps like Google Assistant, Google Lens, and the Google Pay have added several new features.
Here are all the key announcements that were made at Google for India 2019:
Google has been very vocal about AI and machine learning and its positive impact. AI and machine learning play key role in various Google products including Assistant, Lens, and others. One of the major announcement was a new AI research lab in Bengaluru, India.
The AI lab team will work under the leadership of computer scientist Dr. Manish Gupta and he will be joined by Prof. Milind Tambe as Director of AI for Social Good. The key focus area for Google research lab will be, “First, advancing fundamental computer science and AI research by building a strong team and partnering with the research community across the country. Second, applying this research to tackle big problems in fields like healthcare, agriculture, and education while also using it to make apps and services used by billions of people more helpful,” said Jay Yagnik, Vice President and Google Fellow, Google AI in a blog post.
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BHIM UPI based Google Pay platform has added quite a few new features including Pay for Business, Spot, Tokenized cards, and Jobs.
Google Pay for Business is a new app that will allow small and medium businesses to accept online payments directly in their accounts. The registration process is simple and the verification process doesn’t require meeting agents.
“Merchants will now be able to support digital payments at their own convenience through a remote video process within minutes,” said Ambarish Kenghe, director and product manager for Google Pay.
Spot codes is another exciting feature in Google Pay app that was announced today. These codes will allow them to offer curated experiences of their services and products within Google Pay app. It is NFC tags embedded QR like codes, that will allow users to tap or scan to place an order which they plan to collect and pay later “A customer can come back later and pick up their orders without waiting in long lines,” explained Arjita Madan, a product manager at Google.
Google Tokenized cards another feature that’s being added to Google Pay. Tokenized cards as the name suggest are digital tokens which will allow users to transact without revealing your credit or debit card details to anyone.
Google Pay will be receiving Tokenized cards update in the next few weeks. At the start, Tokenized cards will be available for Visa cards issued by HDFC, Axis, Kotak, and Standard Chartered banks. Google has plans to include Mastercard and Rupay as well as include more banks in the future.
Google is also looking to help people discover entry-level and white-collar jobs through Google Pay app. It will create a professional profile, provide user personalized job recommendations based on their skills using machine learning. In Job feature, Google will also help people prepare for the interview and improve or learn new skills by suggesting relevant video content. “Jobs will be available as a Spot on Google Pay to help job seekers find and prepare for entry-level positions that fit their needs,” said Caesar Sengupta.
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Bilingual Google Search
The Google Assitant now support for three new Indic languages – Marathi, Tamil, and Telegu. Google has also added bilingual search in Google App. What it means is now you can ask Google in your other supported language without changing the preferred language option. The Search bar gets a new switch option to toggle between languages.
Google Lens – Translate, Speak and Search
Google Lens has added new capabilities that were announced at Google for India 2019. Now, the Google Lens not only can translate better, but it can also Speak (through voice assistant support) and directly perform a search within Lens app interface. Later on, Google will also add Interpreter mode and support for more Indic languages.
Bolo App – New languages
Earlier this year, Google launched the Bolo app to help kids learn how to read word-by-word in a transcript reader format. To make the learning process fun for kids, it gives praises kids when they read a sentence correctly. The Bolo app now supports seven more languages besides Hindi and English. Google also announced its tie-up with publishers like Global Book Alliance and several NGOs, Chotta Bheem and Katha Kids to source more kids-friendly content.
Phone Line with Google Assistant
Google has set up a dedicated dial-in Google Assistant number for Vodafone-Idea users in India. It will allow people to get information even when they don’t have internet access. The Google Assistant will be available on +91-800-9191-000 across India. Google plans to extend this Google Assistant Dial-in feature to other networks in the near future.