Google just concluded the 7th edition of the Google for India initiative with some exciting announcements that aim to make India a leading digital economy. While addressing the event, Sanjay Gupta, Country Manager & Vice President, Google India, said, “We started with an India Focus approach, and today we are an India First company. We believe when we solve for India, we solve for the world. We feel we are at a critical moment for India and its journey to becoming a truly digital nation. A digital divide still exists in the country, reinforcing the need for a more inclusive approach for digitization.
Let’s take a look at the major announcements at the Google for India initiative:
Google Career certificates
Google has introduced a focused program with Google Career certificates that will help fresh graduates pick up in-demand skills in IT support, IT automation, project management, data analytics and UX design. Working together with Coursera, it aims to reach over one million people in the next two years. It will provide scholarships for one lakh students for these courses and connect them with job opportunities.
Google Assistant-enabled end-to-end vaccine booking
Google announced the first-ever Google Assistant-enabled end-to-end vaccine booking flow in India. The tech giant has worked closely with COWIN to enable this integration, where people everywhere will be able to easily book a vaccine appointment.
Prabhakar Raghava, senior vice president, Search, Google, said, “The number of Indians using voice queries daily is nearly two times the global average. Another way Indians engage with voice is through Google Assistant. Since its launch five years ago, we have made Google Assistant available in 9 Indian languages. With this new facility, relatively new internet users will be able to book an appointment in a more guided manner.”
Preference for local languages
Google is expanding its machine learning and translation techniques to offer search results in local languages, even if the source web page is in English. The feature can be accessed through any mobile browser that supports Google Search and is available in five languages for now, including Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam. Google is also expanding its voice translation service to enable users to hear the search results out loud. It is available in Hinglish, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, and Tamil.
Pandu Nayak, Google Fellow and vice president, Search, Google, adds, “Language holds so much of who we are as people. Indian internet users like to engage with content in local languages. But the local language web ecosystem is still nascent. Most of the information on the web is in English. Users are dissatisfied with the search results. Google Search has deployed advanced machine learning techniques to significantly improve translation quality across Indian languages.”
Climate change is real, and it is impacting our lives significantly. India gets affected by events like heavy rainfall, heatwaves, cold waves or thunderstorms. A proper alert mechanism can save many lives. To help India achieve this, Google has teamed up with India Meteorological Department to launch weather alerts for any extreme climatic conditions.
These alerts will be available on Android phones and Google Search. Users can also use voice commands such as “Weather near me” to get spoken weather updates.
It has also partnered with the Central Pollution Control Board to bring the latest Air Quality Information to Google Search. People can now see air quality from their nearest station by typing queries like “Air quality near me” or “Air quality Delhi”.
New Features on Google Pay
Ambarish Kenghe, VP for Google Pay, announced new features for payments like Groups and Bill Split. The payment app will also be available in the Hinglish language to its users. Google Pay is getting a My Shop feature where a small store merchant can showcase the entire inventory from the app itself.
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Sreejani Bhattacharyya is a journalist with a postgraduate degree in economics. When not writing, she is found reading on geopolitics, economy and philosophy. She can be reached at email@example.com