Google is adapting its technology for India and its many languages

Google for India 2019Google

  • Google for India 2019 was host to a lot of new product launches like Google Assistant for 2G users, Google Research India, Google Pay for Business among others.
  • Google is also building on its efforts to introduce new Indic languages across its portfolio of apps.
  • Google Search will prioritise Indic results over results in other languages.
Google is doubling down on its efforts in India. During its annual event in India, Google for India 2019, the company made a few key announcements — a lot of which had to do with bringing new Indic languages to Google apps and their features.

"Hindi is the second most used Google Assistant language after English," said Manuel Bronstein, the Vice President of Project Management for Google Assistant.

But, it’s not just about the languages but the technology that goes into making the apps possible. Google launched a new products geared towards bringing more people online like Google Assistant for 2G users, Google Research India, Google Pay for Business among others.

"We are adapting technology for India and not expecting Indians to adapt to our technology," stated Caesar Sengupta, Google’s General Manager and Vice President of Payments and Next Billion Users.

Google Research India — an AI lab in Bangalore

Google Research India, launched today, will be led by Manish GuptaGoogle

Google is launching its first artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory in Bangalore — Google Research India — which will be led by Manish Gupta, a renowned scientist.

"We believe that India will play a central role in the future development of AI. India has a proud history of computer science research. It is home to a thriving technology ecosystem," said Jay Yagnik, Vice President and Engineering Fellow at Google.

Google Research India will collaborate with Indian academic institutions, government and other industry players to explore the potential of AI in India.

Yagnik said that more details will be made available by the company in the coming months.

Google Search gets a new look

The default search engine for most users, Google Search, will also see some changes. For starters, it will be available in three more Indic languages.

The search results will also have a more ‘modern look’ where Indic search results will be highlighted more prominently depending on the user's language settings.

So, if a user’s default setting is Hindi, then results in Hindi would show up above results in English and other languages.

Google Search is also aspiring to become more personalised and contextual to the user using AI.

Customise ‘Discover’

Discover videos were limited to English but will also be available in Indic languages now.

Users will also have the option to choose their categories of preference so that their discover tab can filter out items that might be relevant.

Users can also follow categories directly from a post if and when they come across something that sparks their interest.

More languages on Google Lens and BOLO

Google Lens translator went live a few weeks go and it now has plans to introduce three additional languages — Tamil, Telugu and Marathi.

The translator allows users to point and click a picture of any sign board in a foreign language, and Google Lens will change the text within the picture to a language that the user understands. It can also read the text out loud in the preferred language.

BOLO, Google’s speech based reading app that helps kids read, is also bringing on new languages — Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

Google is also collaborating with the Global Book Alliance to bring in more books in regional languages onto the platform as well as collaborating with local Indian publishers.

Since BOLO’s launch in India, over 800,000 children have used the app across 28,000 towns and villages with access to over 3 million stories.

See also:
Google Pay for Business and Google Spot launched to digitise small business owners

Data starved Indians in remote areas can now call the Google Assistant hotline

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