India-first products and features at 'Google for India' event

Published On: 05, Dec 2017 | Source:

Tech giant Google, at the third edition of its annual 'for India' event on Tuesday announced several new India-first products and features that offer a richer experience for the ever-growing base of Indian internet users.

These additions both speak to the specific lifestyles of all Indians - two-wheeler navigation in Maps, bill pay in Tez - as well as the needs of India's newest internet users - Android Oreo (Go edition) to improve the experience on low-RAM phones, new like Go and Files Go that are built from scratch, and The Assistant for the JioPhone that brings the benefits of the Assistant to millions of first-time internet users.

"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 have been working to build new products and features specifically for them," said Rajan Anandan, VP, South East Asia, while inaugurating the event.

Setting the tone for the new launches 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."

Caeser introduced the upcoming Bill Pay feature in Tez, which will start offering a customised experience to pay bills from within the app. Tez will remind users when a bill is due, and users will never pay the same bill twice as the status will be automatically updated. More than seventy billers will be supported, including utilities and direct-to-home service providers. Once users pay a bill on Tez, they will never have to add the billing organization again. The bill pay feature will start rolling out gradually over the next month.

Launching another India-first product, Two-Wheeler Mode in Maps, Martha Welsh, Director 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 customised traffic and arrival time estimations."

The two-wheeler mode uses machine learning to suggest more relevant routes for riders, using smaller roads and two-wheeler-friendly shortcuts. It will also show major landmarks on the route so that riders can better plan their trip before starting, and not keep checking their phone on-the-go. Two-wheeler mode will be available in India starting today, with more countries in the coming months.

Sameer Samat, VP, Product Management, Play + Android, announced that Android Oreo (Go edition) - a new smartphone experience for entry-level devices - is available to the Android ecosystem of developers, partners and carriers as part of today's release of Android 8.1. Phones running Android Oreo (Go edition) will hit shelves in the coming months. Oreo devices with 512MB to 1GB of RAM will get all the optimizations that come with Android Oreo (Go edition), including a better performing OS with built-in data management features and security benefits.

There is also a new set of pre-installed apps, including Go and Assistant for Android Oreo (Go edition), designed to be lighter and more relevant to the unique needs of the next billion users. Android Oreo (Go edition) smartphones also come with a version of the Play Store that enables users to download any app, while highlighting the designed to work best on Go edition devices.

Furthermore, Shashidhar Thakur VP Engineering, Search introduced Go, the new app from Search, tailor-made for the millions of people in India coming online for the first time. Go is easy-to-use and works fast even on entry-level devices and spotty connections, making discovering, sharing and finding content easy and more reliable.

Go has three special features that meet the needs of users who are new to the internet. First, typing on a small device can be slow and cumbersome, and people may not know what to look for online, so Go's tap-first user interface helps users express themselves, explore new ideas, find things to share and guide them around the web. Second, Go comes in a small app size, it is light on data usage, and works great even on patchy connections. Third, it is easy to switch and see answers in another language, for example between Hindi and English.

Go is available as a preview starting today on the Play Store in India.

Josh Woodward, Group Product Manager announced the official global launch of Files Go, a new app by that helps free up space, find files faster and share files offline with people nearby. In tests over the last month, the average user saved 1GB of space. Files Go was built from scratch for Go edition devices, and today the official version launched on the Play Store.

Announcing the Assistant for the JioPhone, Gummi Hafsteinsson, Product Management Director said, "For the first time ever globally, the Assistant will be available on a feature phone. This special version of the Assistant in both English and Hindi will appear on the new Reliance JioPhones. Whether in entry-level smartphones or JioPhones, the Assistant can help you call, text, play music and videos, and access other "

also announced the extension of the Internet Saathi program, to support the Foundation For Rural Entrepreneurship Development (FREND) set up by Tata Trusts to enable greater employment opportunities for women in the rural sector.