Being the 2nd largest smartphone market in the world and with Android having a market share of over 91% in the market, India is a very important market for Google. For the last 4 years, Google has put a lot of efforts in tailoring its products and services to better cater to the market. This year’s announcements were no different. From Google Assistant to Google Bolo, a lot of products and services are now getting more vernacular in their approach.
Google Lens has been used for over half a billion times in India. To serve a wider section of the public, Google Lens is now getting support for more Indian languages. After the inclusion of Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi are three other languages that are now supported on the application.
Google Assistant Phone Line
Google has partnered up with Vodafone-Idea to announce a new phone line that is aimed to serve people with poor internet connections and feature phones. Users can now simply call the (000-800-9191000) phone line and ask away their queries. As of now, the phone line supports English and Hindi. Users can ask questions like weather, traffic updates, news, facts amongst other things.
Google Assistant is also getting food delivery support. Users will be able to order food with the Google Assistant from brands like Domino’s and Freshmenu.
Google Discover was announced last year and initially had support for Hindi. But starting today, Google Discover feed will be available in 7 additional languages: Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, and Malayalam. Support for more languages like Oriya, Urdu and Punjabi is expected to come later this year.
Google Bolo App
Google unveiled the Bolo app earlier this year in India that helped children learn Hindi and English. Now, the application will help learn 5 additional languages that include Bangla, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. Google has also announced a partnership with publishers like Katha Kids and Chhota Bheem.
Google Pay was announced in the country back in 2017 and has gained a lot of traction in the country for doing payments via UPI. It now handles 918 million transactions a month in India that is a 54x increase from what it did two years ago. The app is now getting three major updates. Firstly, Google is rolling out NFC card payments to Google Pay, starting with cards from Axis, HDFC, Standard Chartered and Kotak banks. Google is also introducing tokenization for debit and credit cards.
Secondly, Google’s Spot platform will now also be a part of the Google Pay app. The Spot platform allows brands to offer their services right within the application itself. So users can now upload their catalogues right into the Google Pay app without having to create a separate application. Merchants can also create Spot codes with which consumers can order ahead and then later go to the store and pick up what they ordered. Early partners include Eat.fit, GoIbibo, MakeMyTrip, RedBus, UrbanClap, and Zomato.
The last new feature coming to Google Pay is Jobs. Jobs will focus on entry-level jobs in industries like hospitality, delivery and retail amongst others. With the help of machine learning, it will suggest a regularly updated list of 10 jobs allowing users to apply for them from within the application itself. This feature will first be available in Delhi NCR. Apart from job opportunities, it will also job-related to tips to these prospective employees.
Google Research India: AI Lab
Lastly, Google is setting up an AI lab in the IT centre of India; Bengaluru. The AI lab in Bangalore will focus on advancing fundamental computer science and AI research and then apply this research to tackle problems like healthcare, agriculture and education in India. For instance, predicting flood forecasts is one category where Google has been working on and will continue to in the near future.