The fourth edition of Google for India concluded today and Google had a number of big announcements to make. The event highlighted Google’s focus on the development of a number of India-centric features for the millions who are only just coming online while also showcasing the redoubling of its efforts to get more Indian language content on the web.
Short summary of key data & announcements:
1. India is adding 40 million new Internet users every year and reach will hit 500 million in the next two years.
2. In the next 3 years, Google expects 45 percent of Indian internet users to be women.
3. Google announced that Google.org and Google employees are contributing over $1 million for relief efforts in Kerala.
4. Google Station – which enables high-speed Wi-fi hotspots at public places – will be made available across 12,000 villages, towns and cities in Andhra Pradesh, potentially reaching 10 million people. Google is partnering with Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Limited to make this happen.
5. Google has announced that a number of Android Go phones will be launching soon with Samsung’s J2 Core being the first in the line up.
6. Google Go will now allow you to listen to web pages in 28 languages including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil etc. This is designed to work on 2G connections too.
7. Google also launched ‘Navlekha’ – an AI tool that acts converts Indian language PDF files into editable text. Google says it hopes this tool will encourage more online content in Indian languages from traditional publishers. Interested publications can enlist with Google to receive training, Adsense support and more.
8. Google has expanded the number of languages it supports within its apps. Google Assistant now supports Marathi and more Indian languages are to be added soon.
9. Google has partnered with Redbus to add more than 20,000 inter-city bus routes in 1500 cities to Google Maps.
10. Google has revealed that over 50 million buildings in India have been added to Google Maps. It also seems interested in heavily pushing Push Codes, which reduce addresses to short, shareable codes. This feature has been recently highlighted during the Kerala Floods, where users were able to share their locations accurately when calling for help.
11. Google Tez to be now called Google Pay and will be a unified common platform globally. An instant loan function via Google Pay is to be added going forward.