Google for India event was held today and Google announced a bunch of new services and apps, along with some service expansions and statistics regarding usage data for India.
Opening the Google for India event, Rajan Anandan, VP, South East Asia, said, “India crossed the 400 million internet user mark this year and Indians were consuming more data than ever before — 4GB on average every month, projected to grow to 11GB per month in the next four years. The growing base of Internet users is hungry for better online experiences and we at Google have been working to build new products and features specifically for them.”
Hinting towards new product releases, Caesar Sengupta, Vice-President, Next Billion Users said, “Our India-first suite of products and features are aimed to help more people discover how the internet can make life easier and more convenient — whether it’s helping pay bills on time, navigating through the quickest routes or searching for answers to questions wherever we are. These products and features are India-first, but they are not India-only. When we build better products for India, we ultimately build better products for everyone.” He also mentioned that Google’s India-first payment app Tez now has 12 Million users and they will be bringing the bill pay feature to Tez soon. The new feature will also remind users when a bill is due and once the users pay the bill, the status will be automatically updated. He also mentioned that more than seventy billers will be supported, ranging from utilities and direct-to-home service providers. The bill pay feature will start rolling out gradually over the next month.
At the event, Sameer Samat, VP, Product Management, Play + Android, announced that Android Oreo Go Edition is finally available. The new Android Go Oreo edition brings all the latest features, design philosophy and power to smartphones, but it’s lightweight. Oreo devices with 512MB to 1GB of RAM will get all the optimizations that come with Android Oreo Go edition. The Android Oreo Go Edition is lightweight OS, with built-in data management features and security benefits. With the Android Oreo Go edition, there will be a new set of Google apps, including the new Google Go and Google Assistant for Android Oreo Go. Android Oreo Go edition smartphones also come with a version of the Google Play Store that enables users to download an app, while recommending the apps designed to work best on Go edition devices. Android Oreo Go edition devices will include the following apps- Google Go, the Google Assistant for Android (Go edition), Google Maps Go, YouTube Go, Gmail Go, Files Go, Play, Gboard, and Chrome.
VP Engineering, Search, Shashidhar Thakur introduced the Google Go, which is a lighter version of Google App for Android, but enables users to do all the tasks, and provides information at the touch of a button. The Google Go app is small in size and uses a lesser amount of data to help those who have a budget phone and rely on comparatively slow and limited data plans. As per Google, the app size is just 5MP and compared to the regular Google App for Android, it uses 40% less data, also Google claimed that the app will work well even on 2G data plans. Google Go works in English and ten Indian languages: Hindi, Bengali, Gujrati, Kannada, Marathi, Malayalam, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu. The user will also be able to set their language preferences within the app. Google Go also lets you personalize the app by adding your favorite websites to the home screen, adding a custom background and much more. Google Go is built after listening to feedback from users in over 170 cities in India and Indonesia. Hence, starting from today, Google Go is available in India and Indonesia as a preview, so visit g.co/googlego on your Android phone to get started. Along with, this, Group Product Manager, Josh Woodward announced the official global launch of Files Go, which is a new file manager for Android phones. Files Go is an intelligent file manager that lets users manage their files, media while providing recommendations to remove junk files, low-resolution media and wireless transfer between devices at speeds up to 125Mbps.
Two-wheeler mode for Google Maps was just introduced, and India is the first country to get it where the number of two-wheelers is way higher, and people use two-wheelers for the commute to home and work, visiting places and more. uses machine learning, to provide routes that are best suited for riders, finding out and suggesting shortcuts where cars can’t enter but bikes can surely skip traffic by going through small lanes, and with all these, it calculates the estimated travel time very accurately as it doesn’t follow the usual traffic route. Commenting on the product, Martha Welsh, Director Google Maps said, “India is the world’s largest two-wheeler market and the navigation needs of these millions of riders are different from automobile drivers. Two-wheeler mode in Maps gives routes that use shortcuts not accessible to cars. It also provides customized traffic and arrival time estimations.”
These three products are made for smartphones, but looks like Google has got some big plans for feature phones as well as Google just introduced the Google Assistant for Jio Phone. Starting from today, the Google Assistant will be available for Jio Phone as well. This is the first time when Google worked on making Assistant available for a feature phone, and they kept in mind the core needs and functionalities that users need to access the web, do tasks and find information. With The Google Assistant for the JioPhone, you can get
answers and find local information, play music or videos, and easily change the settings of your device. Also, Google Assistant on Jio Phone will also support voice recognition and search using Hindi.
Announcing The Google Assistant for the JioPhone, Gummi Hafsteinsson, Product Management Director said, “For the first time ever globally, the Google Assistant will be available on a feature phone.” This special version of the Google Assistant in both English and Hindi will appear on the new Reliance JioPhones. He added, ” Whether in entry-level smartphones or JioPhones, the Google Assistant can help you call, text, play music and videos, and access other apps.”