The 7th annual edition of Google for India 2021 just concluded with Google announcing quite a few India-centric features for its apps like Google Assistant, and Google Pay. Some new initiatives like Google Career Certificate scholarships have also been announced.
You may recall, it was last year when Google announced a collaboration with Reliance Jio for JioPhone Next as a part of the Google for India Digitization Program. Anyways, let’s see what all new Google has to offer this time around.
Here are the highlights of today’s Google for India 2021 Event
1. COVID Vaccines can now be booked by Google Assistant
Google has announced a pilot program in partnership with COWIN for Google Assistant-enabled vaccination booking on the COWIN website. Google has integrated its Assistant in the booking flow, which means that anyone will be able to book their vaccine slots with much more ease bringing down the trouble for people who don’t like to fill forms, use a smartphone, etc.
This feature currently supports 9 languages- English, Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu. It will be available for all from early 2022.
2. Google Search Updates
Google search is getting updated specifically for Indian users by starting to translate “high-quality” content from sources including Wikipedia and Quora to a local language when they appear on search results.
The new experience will initially be available in 5 Indian languages-Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam, and will be accessible through any mobile browser that supports Google Search. Users will be able to view the page in its source language if they don’t want to see them in the language they searched.
Additionally, Google has introduced the ability to start hearing search results out loud in Hinglish as well as 5 Indian languages- Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, and Tamil. Users just need to tap the button in Google Search results to hear the given information read back to you in your preferred language.
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This will help people listen to the information they want to get from Google Search. It will also allow Google to reach new users in India by easing the information delivery mechanism- using its voice-driven experience.
3. 100,000 scholarships for Google Career Certificate Program
Google has announced 100,000 scholarships for its Career Certificate program which enables users to develop their skill-set and become job-ready in IT, Data Analytics, UX Design, and more. Google with Coursera will provide these certificates.
The company is collaborating with NASSCOM Foundation, Tata Strive, and Safeducate for distributing the scholarships to learners across India.
Google has also collaborated with major companies like Tech Mahindra and Wipro for job seekers and those enrolled in the Career Certificate Program.
Google has also partnered with SIDBI for 110 crore financial assistance to micro-enterprises. It will allow micro-enterprises owners to have loans between 25 lakh and 1 crore via SIDBI to scale up their existence. The program will prioritize women-owned businesses and those that are engaged in the production of equipment for the country’s fight against the pandemic.
4. Google Pay New Features
Google Pay is also getting some new updates. These include the app’s ability to be used in Hinglish with just a tap of a button. Users will be able to give voice commands to pay another user or business.
Another important update is the ‘Bill Split’ which can be used to split expenses between friends and settle shared expenses easily.
Google has also announced the launch of MyShop on Google Pay where micro-businesses and merchants can establish their online presence and build a store quickly by adding a few images and prices of the items they are selling online. All these new Google Pay features will go live in the coming months.
5. Climate and weather alerts on Google Search
Google in partnership with the Indian Meteorological Department will launch weather alerts in the country for extreme climatic conditions. These will be available in Google Search. Users will also get to see the real-time Air Quality Index via the Central Pollution Board when searching for queries such as Air quality near me or Air Quality in Delhi.
Since the monsoon last year, Google claims that it has sent 110 million notifications to at least 20 million affected people through its flood forecasting developments in states including Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
6. Google Classroom Updates
Google Classroom has received offline support to let them download their assignments when they have the Internet and can access them even when there is poor or no connectivity. Once assignments are prepared, they can submit their notebook images through the classroom app. Teachers can also review assignments, share feedback and add grades using their mobile devices if they don’t have access to their computers.
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In addition to the Google Classroom updates, Google has introduced a Practice Problem feature on its search engine. This will allow both parents and students to practice their maths, physics, and chemistry problems directly using Google Search. Google has collaborated with companies like Byju’s Toppr, Vedantu, Gradeup, and Careers360 among others.
Google also claims that through its existing partnerships with educational boards and state governments including the Central Board of Secondary Education and the Maharashtra state government, it has trained over 550,000 teachers on digital skills for education.
Sanjay Gupta, VP of Google India said, “We are India’s first company for billion Indians.” He said that the digital economy has increased in India with 2.5x new smartphone users added after the pandemic. The UPI transaction has touched 3.5 billion dollars in valuation and people are spending 20% more time on a smartphone.