Google is stepping up its efforts on voice, video and vernacular language for growth in India. During the Google for India 2018 event, the search giant asserted that access to technology and products in Indian languages to improve the user’s experience will be its focus. Rajan Anandan, VP, India and Southeast Asia said that the big three themes that will define the future of India’s Internet will be “Voice, Video, and Vernacular.”
“Voice has been emerging as the preferred mode of use for new internet users. We’re seeing major growth of voice queries in India. Furthermore, online video now accounts for 75% of all mobile traffic. And as for vernacular, the majority of the Internet users today are Indian language users, a number expected to reach 500 million plus in the next two years. 95% of video consumption is in vernacular languages,” Anandan said while emphasising company’s push in key areas.
To achieve this, Google said it was working with the over one lakh offline Indian language publishers on Project Navlekha, which allows them to start their website and publish on a branded domain with a few simple clicks. In addition, the company said that users of the Google Go app can pull up any web page in English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam, and Tamil, and simply listen to it with each word lighting up as it’s read. The technology giant also said that the search feed will now display users’ favourite topics of interest as well as news, from both English and Hindi sources, using AI.
On Google Assistant usage, the company said it has tripled in India since last year. The company announced features to make the Google Assistant more relevant to Indians, including the addition of Marathi language as the first of eight new Indian languages, as well as integration with local apps Where Is My Train, Airtel, and Hello English.
Google also announced new features coming to Maps. Google Maps Go now brings turn-by-turn navigation functionality, while featuring a new home screen with convenient shortcuts. Google Maps is also adding public transport guidance, which will inform riders of upcoming stops and alerts on when to get off, said the company.
On partnership, the company informed that Google Station is partnering with Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Limited to bring Google Station to over 12,000 villages, towns and cities in Andhra Pradesh. “This will provide high-quality Internet access to areas that have never been connected before, from hospitals in cities like Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, to Gram Panchayats, primary health care centers and other public places across many villages,” said Google.
On the Android Go smartphones, the company said it will see further momentum with the first Android Go phone soon coming from Samsung.