Google is an integral part of everyone's digital life and the web search giant wants to expand its reach further in India by improving most of its service platforms. Google has been hosting "Google for India" event each year for the last four years and it is one of the highly anticipated tech events today. This year's Google for India event introduced major upgrades to a wide range of services, including Search, Assistant, Pay and more.
Whether you know it or not, there's a high chance you are a part of Google's ecosystem in one way or another. Be it using the web search for a quick query or making payments digitally, Google's services have come to the rescue of billions of Indians and now those services are about to get a whole lot better.
Let's take a look at everything major announced at Google for India 2019 event in New Delhi on Thursday.
Google Search is the world's most dominant internet search engine, so popular that people would rather say "Google it" than "search it on the internet." India has been a crucial market for India, so it introduced a Hindi tab on its mobile platform back in 2016, which helped in a significant rise in web queries. Now, Google Search gets seven local language support in India, bringing the total to nine languages in the country
Internet users can use Google's search engine to discover content in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada and Malayalam. That's not it. Google is adding three more languages, Oriya, Urdu and Punjabi to the Search by the end of this year.
The level of customisation Google Search now offers is impressive. Users can set different languages for different context. For instance, food recipes can be set to Hindi and news updates can be set to English and Google Search will comply by those preferences.
With Google Search getting more local than ever in India, Google Assistant couldn't be left out to dry. In just two years, Google Assistant has become an integral part of our digital lives in India. With the massive number of queries for Assistant in Hindi, it has become the second-largest language globally for the AI voice assistant.
According to Google, people have asked over 100 million queries in India during the Cricket World Cup alone. Seeing that level of demand, Google now added the ability to switch languages just by asking the Assistant to do so. For instance, users can say, "Ok Google, speak to me in Hindi" or any of the nine Indian languages the Assistant currently supports.
While the feature is coming to all Android, Android Go and KaiOS phones, Google wants its Assistant to be of use to non-smartphone users. Google Assistant now has a phone number and it is 0008009191000. Users can simply call this number via regular voice call and Google Assistant will answer it to respond to any queries you might have. The idea is to allow feature phone users to use Assistant. It's worth noting that calls to the phone number are free of charge and it does not require internet or data on the phone. Google partnered with Vodafone-Idea for this cool feature.
Finally, Google Assistant is also getting a new "Interpreter Mode" in Android and Android Go smartphones in India in the coming months. This new feature will allow people who speak different languages to interact with each other with the help of the Assistant's real-time translations. The feature will start by offering English and Hindi support at first before adding more languages to the mix.
With India moving at a rapid pace towards a digital economy, Google Pay grew multi-fold ever since its debut in the country. It currently serves 67 million monthly active users doing and the transactions are estimated at $110 billion annually. This achievement is despite stern competition from the likes of Paytm, Amazon Pay, PhonePe and other digital wallets in the country.
But Google wants to get an edge over its rivals so it introduced some interesting features that will boost its presence in India. The most exciting feature introduced in Google Pay is the tokenised cards, which pushes towards more secure transactions online.
Google Pay's Tokenised Cards use randomly generated tokens so users won't have to enter the details of the actual Visa card during a transaction at any point in time. Once the transaction using the token is complete, the data will be erased. Most banks in India, including HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, State Bank of India, Kotak Bank and Standard Chartered, are already on board for this new feature and it will soon it expanded to MasterCard and RuPay cards.
Google also announced that its Google Station initiative to offer free public Wi-Fi is coming to 4,000 locations. The internet search titan is also setting up an AI lab in Bengaluru to leverage various benefits of computer science tech. For instance, AI can address the mounting flood issues by accurately forecasting an upcoming flood so people can prepare for the natural disaster in advance.
Google also introduced Bolo, a service that is focused on kids to read them stories. The story-telling is available in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu and a lot of content is soon to be added with partnership from Global Book Alliance, Katha Kids, and Chotta Bheem, Android Central reported.