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Posted on September 23, 2019

Google Goes DESI – 10 Things You Need to Know!

On the 19th of September 2019, Google held the fifth edition of its annual ‘Google for India’ event, which started in 2015. The 2019 event saw the American tech giant go all out for establishing complete dominance over the Indian market.

From India specific updates to its search platform, it increased support for Indic languages. Google has also announced various products and initiatives tailored to the Indian user. Google has strengthened its resolve to AI and its implementation in India, with plans to build an AI-centric research lab in India.

As Google goes desi, here are the 10 things you need to know about the American tech giants plan to dominate the Indian market.    

1. AI Research Lab in India

Google has revealed plans that it would be building a research lab in Bengaluru, India. The prime objective of this lab would be to advance Computer Science-centric research in India, and testing its applications in the real world. The fields of inquiry would be; ‘healthcare, education, and agriculture, etc.’ The research institution would be led by notable Indian scientist and an ACM fellow, Dr. Manish Gupta. 

2. Google Public Wi-Fi

Google has partnered with BSNL to provide free public Wi-Fi to people living in remote parts of the country without internet connectivity. This initiative will build on Google’s previous work with the Indian government in creating a network of free Wi-Fi hot-spots across India’s railway stations. In the first phase of this initiative, Google will start data services from the villages of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Bihar.   

3. Vodafone-Idea Partnership 

Google has partnered with Vodafone-Idea to introduce Google’s AI-Assistant to people living in backward areas without internet connectivity. Vodafone-Idea’s 2G network users will now be able to call a toll-free number – 000-800-9191-000 to directly ask Google their queries. 

4. Passive Language Support 

Earlier, users who utilized the Google Assistant services had to select an Indic-language manually in order to use it. With the new updates, users will be able to just use any of the nine Indian languages supported by Google Assistant. All they would need to do would be to say; ‘Hey Google, talk to me in Hindi’. Google has made this update available on all Android, Android GO, and KaiOS devices. 

5. Active Interpretation 

Google Assistant will now come with Active real-time language interpretation capabilities. To activate the feature, users would be required to say; ‘Okay Google, help me speak in Hindi’. This feature will be made available on Android and Android devices in India soon. 

7 New Languages Added 

Google has announced that all Google platforms will start supporting 7 new Indian languages. These new languages would include; ‘Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam’. Google also added that they would soon support; ‘Oriya, Urdu, and Punjabi’. 

8. Updates to Google Lens 

Google Lens was also updated with new features. 

  1. Users will be able to translate public information boards like road signs or posters, by taking a picture of them and tapping on the translate button in their selected language. 
  2. Google Lens users will now be able to launch the search directly from a picture by pressing-and-holding the photographed word. 
  3. Google Lens will get support for Tamil, Telugu, and Marathi.

9. BOLO gets more languages 

When Google launched its BOLO app in India, it only supported Hindi and English. Now, Google has added support for five new languages in BOLO App. These new languages include; ‘Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.’ Google has also collaborated with popular kids animated show Chotta Bheem and Katha Kids to expand its story catalogue from 40 to over 500. 

10. Google Pay Business Revamped 

Google has revamped its payment service – Google Pay. They have announced that now merchants would be able to create branded commercial experience within Google Pay. Users will be able to pay for this specific Google Pay cataloged item without leaving the app. Google  has currently announced partnerships with MakeMyTrip, EAT.fit, Goibibo, OvenStory, RedBus, and UrbanClap.

Tokenization of Credit & Debit Cards

Google in another major boost to its payment platform, introduced tokenized cards on Google Pay. These cards would pass a digital token to the merchant from which you have made the purchase of a product or service, instead of your actual card number. This move will better protect you from online bank frauds. This feature at first will be made available to VISA cards by HDFC, SBI, Axis, Kotak, and Standard Chartered Banks. Google said they will soon extend support to MasterCard and RUPAY also.     


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