By Elton Gomes
Through its Google for India 2018 event held on Tuesday, Google reiterated its focus on users in India. While underlining how connectivity has increased the number of Indian users online, Google announced several updates keeping in mind India’s ecosystem.
Keeping in mind the importance of regional languages in India, Google announced a program that will empower offline newspapers and magazines in India to bring their content into the online space. Though Project Navlekha, publishers will have access to free web hosting, a branded domain name for three years as well as AdSense to support monetisation of their content. Google will employ AI technology to enable PDFs in Indic languages to be converted into text.
Shashidhar Thakur, vice president of search engineering, said, “50% more Indians are using mobile search daily. But most of the documents available on the web today are in English and a very few in Indian languages. For search to be truly helpful, it should bring you useful content, in all the languages you understand,” Business Today reported. Navlekha will soon be available with Hindi publications, and users can currently express their interest in a free publication website.
Tez becomes Google Pay
Google’s UPI payments platform, Tez, has changed its name to Google Pay, but its services will remain unchanged. Google announced that Google Pay will enable users to pay more amounts online, through in-store and online options. Additionally, users will be able to apply for pre-approved loans from major banks via Google Pay.
Google emphasised on its ongoing efforts to help digitize payments by announcing support for Google Pay in more than 15,000 retail stores across India by early November. Google added that it only takes a few seconds for customers to enter the desired amount, choose repayment terms, and receive the money in their bank accounts.
Google Station partners with Andhra Pradesh
Google Station, the company’s service that allows partners to start WiFi hotspots in public places by providing software and advice on hardware, has partnered with Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Limited to introduce high-quality internet coverage to more than 12,000 villages, towns, and cities in the state. The initiative is expected will help 10 million people, and will help in providing high-quality internet access to many areas in Andhra Pradesh.
“Building for India has helped Google build for everyone all around the world… Our partnership with RailTel is an example where millions of people are accessing Internet from hundreds of railway stations in India. We have also taken Google Station to other countries like Indonesia, Nigeria, Thailand and Mexico,” Google General Manager (Next Billion Users initiative and Payments) Caesar Sengupta said, the Economic Times reported.
Addition of new languages
Through a new update, users will now be able to converse with the AI-powered Google Assistant in Marathi. Google Assistant will now be able to understand and respond to queries in Marathi. Google has also promised that it will be adding seven new Indian languages to its Assistant soon. With the help of machine learning, users can seamlessly switch between Hindi and English on the Assistant.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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