Google hosted its flagship event in New Delhi, India on December 5, where it laid down its Vision and roadmap for the year ahead. The Internet Moghul has always regarded India as its primary market and at this year’s conference it re-emphasized and re-iterated its sincere belief that the solutions for challenges in India will help improve services worldwide. Here are 10 important announcements made at Google For India 2017.
Android Oreo (Go Edition)
Google has been working on Android Go for a while and now the Android Oreo (Go Edition) AOSP is officially available. The new Android OS has been designed from ground up for entry-grade Android phones – the ones that manage with just 1GB RAM and 8GB of storage.
The three key areas that Google has focused on are Speed, Security, and Space. If the company claims are to be believed, Apps will open 15 percent faster on the Android Go phones and the amount of free storage space has been doubled by reducing the size of system apps and reworking the OS code.
Google has also designed custom apps for Android Go, including Assistant Go, Google Go and Files Go. The first set of Android Go phones will be available for purchase in next 2 to 3 months.
Tez gets bill payment support
Google’s UPI Payment app Tez accounted for around 73 percent of the UPI transactions last months. Even when we suspect that a large chunk of that success can be attributed to attractive promotional offers and Rewards, no one can deny that It’s an extremely intuitive and simple to use Payment app that works.
Now Google is adding bill payments to Tez and partner merchants that you transact with have their own chat head listed under ‘Payments’ label on the homes screen.
Google Assistant for Jio Phone
Google has also announced a new Google Assistant for Reliance Jio Phone. You can use the Google Assistant on Jio Phone for voice search. Google said that other finer controls that should enable the Assistant to fiddle with phone settings will be added in the future. The Assistant will be rolling out to Jio phones in next few weeks.
Apps for Google Assistant
You will now be able to access some News and other apps directly from Google Assistant. For instance, you could say “Book My Show Trivia” to play a BMS powered quiz. Moving forward, you will be able to access audio feed from news channel by simple statements like “Listen to Aaj Tak”.
More and more developers are now building for Google Assistant and in the near future, you will be able to directly access useful bits and pieces of popular Android apps directly from Google.
Air Quality updates
Soon you will be able to fetch details of air quality for 22 Indian cities via a search card by simply typing something like ‘Air quality New Delhi’ in the search bar. Google will also list details like major pollutants and their impact on its Air quality card.
This should help you make an informed decision before you hit the road.
Two-wheeler mode in Maps
Google has now added a two-wheeler mode in Google Maps. No, this won’t make using your phone for navigation while riding your bike any simpler, but the new mode will have additional routes dictated by new algorithms that additionally take into account areas and roads easily accessible via two-wheelers.
For instance, using the Two Wheeler mode can help you navigate through narrow and crowded streets of Chandni Chowk, something not feasible in the ‘Car mode’.
Google has also introduced a trimmed down version of its search app, dubbed as the Google Go that takes just 5MB of storage space. The new search app is light and fast and integrates other services and apps (both Google and third-party ones) as separate tiles on the main page.
Google has also added a direct search option for images and GIFs. You can try Google Go before it hits Play Store from here.
Google also tuned its Assistant to work efficiently with Android Go devices. The new Google Assistant will work with basic Android phones with less than 1GB RAM and will have most features as Google’s full-fledged assistant.
Google also officially introduced its Flies Go app that can be used to find files on your phone, delete junk conveniently, or to share files offline.
The feature that drew the most excitement at the launch was its ability to club together (and delete) all ‘Good Morning’ messages on your phone in one place.
Internet Saathi to expand in partnership with Tata’s FRNDS
Google’s Internet Saathi Program, that aims to digitally empower rural women, will now expand to support the Foundation For Rural Entrepreneurship Development (FREND) set up by Tata Trusts.
More than 12 million Indian women are part of the Internet Saathi program that currently operates in 12 states. Moving forward, Google plans on expanding the program to 300,000 villages.
Google For India 2017 – Everything you should know
These are the major announcements Google made for India. The company also shared several insights like 28 percent of searches in India are now voice searches, there has been a 2X increase in Maps usage and Google searches and more. The focus has been on improving and simplifying experience for new internet users.