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Google for India: Tez becomes Google Pay, High quality Wi-Fi, Project Navlekha, Google Go and Kerala flood efforts

Google says that the future of the internet in India will be defined by “Voice, Video, and Vernacular.”

  • Published: August 28, 2018 12:30 PM IST
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Highlights

  • Google Tez rebranded as Google Pay.

  • Google announces 'Project Navlekha'.

  • Google's high-speed internet to reach remote areas in Andhra Pradesh.

  • Google pledges $1 million to NGOs helping affected people in Kerala.

Google today hosted the fourth edition of its annual ‘Google for India’ event. This event showcases Google’s efforts in the country, and also gives a glimpse at initiatives and features developed with Indian users in mind. Some of them are even expanded to other countries. This year’s Google for India was no different, and here’s a look at everything the company announced.

Google Tez becomes Google Pay

In line with a recent report, Google has today rebranded its Tez app, and it will now be known as Google Pay. It is believed that the rebranding is essentially to streamline the company’s payment offerings. Besides the change in name, the app is the same as before.

Google has however said that in the coming weeks and months, Pay’s functionalities will be expanded to “places users can pay in-store and online, expanding services for merchants, and working with the banks to provide instant loans to Google Pay users.”

Google Station in Andhra Pradesh

As a part of its Next Billion Users initiative, Google is partnering Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Limited to bring Google Station to over 12 thousand villages, towns and cities across the state. The company aims to provide high-quality internet access to remote areas in the state as well as public places like hospitals in cities like Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam.

Project Navlekha

As mentioned, Google strongly believes that the vernacular medium is what will define the future of internet in India. Access to information in regional languages is essential for reaching out to the next billion users. “For Search to be truly helpful, it should bring you useful content, in all the languages you understand,” Shashidhar Thakur, VP, Engineering, Google Search, said.

With that aim, Google today announced ‘Project Navlekha’. The company is working with over 100,000 offline publishers to help them easily create regional language websites on branded domains.

Google Go and Google Assistant

Google Go (for Android Go users) also gets a new ability. Users will now get a webpage in languages like English, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Malayalam or Tamil read out to them. Besides listening, each of the word will also be highlighted while being read out. Google Go will also be using AI to show up users’ favorite topics and news from English and Hindi websites.

Google Assistant too has been improved with support for Marathi (in addition to English and Hindi). “India loves the Google Assistant. In fact, Google Assistant usage has tripled in India since last year,” Pravir Gupta, Director of Software Engineering, said.

Google Maps

We are all heavily dependent upon Google Maps, and there are a few important changes announced today. A big announcement is for Google Maps Go users, who will now get to use turn-by-turn navigation feature. The app’s homescreen too has been tweaked with a new set of shortcuts.

Google has partnered with RedBus to offer better public transport information on Maps. Courtesy of this partnership, users will get info on ticket prices and timings of buses on over 20,000 routes across 1,500 cities.

Other Google for India announcements

There were a bunch of other points too that Google touched upon. It briefly mentioned the first Android Go smartphone from Samsung. This is basically the Samsung Galaxy J2 Core, which was unveiled last week.

Google is also doing its part to help the flood-affected people in Kerala. Google.org has pledged $1 million to several NGOs who are doing relief and recovery work in the affected regions.

  • Published Date: August 28, 2018 12:30 PM IST