Google made several India-centric announcements at an event on Tuesday. From showcasing its achievements in the country to revealing plans, Google displayed that India is its prime focus right now. “Solve for India, solve for the 7 billion people in the world,” said one of the speakers at the event. From talking about its flagship program “Internet Saathi” to revealing incremental changes to software, Google had several things up its sleeve. “Internet Saathi” is a project that plans to bring digital literacy to millions of women in rural India. Google also launched Android Oreo (Go Edition), which is a lite version of the OS aimed at low-end mobile users in the country. Google also announced that its Assistant will now be available on the Reliance Jio Phone, which is India’s cheapest 4G VoLTE enabled feature phone. While it is clear that the software giant is committed to launching relevant products keeping local consumers in mind, at the centre of it all lies the multi-lingual focus.
Google says that the appetite for Internet consumption in India will rise steadily in the next 3 years as more users log onto the World Wide Web. The tech giant talked about the growth of Internet usage in the country and said that soon users will need an internet that is much different from what it is today. The company revealed that India ranks upto global standards in internet usage despite a large population being unable to access it. Google revealed that out of 400 million internet users in India, over 330 million people access the Internet on smartphones. The company said that an average connected user in India consumes around 4GB of 4G data, but that figure might go up to 11GB in the next four years. This also means that there has been a huge surge in the number of Hindi and other Indian language internet users.
Google revealed how the internet is becoming a familiar place for 230 million digitally active Indians. A whopping 230 million Indian language users are now online. Meanwhile, 28 out of 100 queries were made with voice input last year. Interestingly, there has been a massive 400 percent Hindi search query growth year-over-year.
Google announced its achievements when it comes to addressing multi-lingual needs. It said that now 9 Indian languages get auto-translated on Google Chrome. Meanwhile, voice input support works for 9 Indian languages and 22 Indian languages work with text input support. Some of the new Indian language additions are Bagheli, Bagri, Marwari, Tulu, Bishnupriya Manipuri, Haryanvi, Bhojpuri, Chhattisgarhi, and Mewari.
Additionally, Reliance Jio Phone has become the first feature phone to support Google Assistant. Google says it has created a special version of Assistant for the JioPhone and it will be available in both English and Hindi.
Apart from all these, Google’s Internet Saathi platform helps women to become digitally aware, and it is being done in several Indian languages. The company’s ‘Solve for India’ program also helps startups and entrepreneurs working in rural areas where Hindi and local languages are a prime source of communication.
While roughly 900 million in the country still do not have access to the internet, Google estimates that 250 million of these will come online by 2020. This will essentially bring the total Internet users in India to 650 million. With such a huge rise in numbers, Google is rightfully targetting the local language users.