As an internet company, Google’s services largely depend on the smooth functioning of the internet. Much of what Google does promotes a future that depends on fast, reliable internet. From its Android operating system for smartphones, to its Pixel smartphones, to its audacious Project Loon, Google looks to the future and aims to provide technologies that are cutting-edge. All of this does of course rely on users actually being able to access those futuristic services.
For people like you and me, that may not be so hard. We use smartphones that we can afford, and many of us live in big cities where access to the internet is both affordable and easily available. But there’s a whole segment of the population right here in India that doesn’t have access to those things. That may be for various reasons, such as affordability, remoteness or a lack of education on how to use it, among others.
The average individual from that segment of the populace probably rides a two wheeler to get around, uses a feature phone or a budget smartphone, probably has just one 2G or 3G mobile tower in their village, and needs to travel far to access public conveniences and facilities. Google’s latest announcements make access to the internet easier for this segment, and it’s about time.
This comes in the form of larger efforts, or small touches that impact you in the smallest, yet significant ways. Google Go and Files Go are among the larger efforts, as is Android Oreo (Go Edition). Google Go makes search easier and possible on even slow internet connections. Files Go uses machine learning to suggest ways to save space, which is particularly relevant when your smartphone has just 8GB or 16GB of internal space. Android Oreo (Go Edition) is a simplified version of the operating system that can work on devices that have even just 512MB or 1GB of RAM. All of these are obviously targeted at bringing enhanced connectivity and access to more people.
Some of the smaller efforts include apps such as Datally, Google Tez and more. Today’s announcements include an added feature to Tez, which now includes the ability to pay bills using the app. This would help users quickly and easily pay utility and service bills, making it possible to make payments without having to travel far.
Another subtle change that has a lot of importance in India is the new Motorbike mode on Google Maps. The updated app takes into account the specifics of commuting using a two-wheeler, and Google’s traffic and route-planning algorithms take into account all factors affecting a ride on a two-wheeler. For a country that greatly relies on two-wheelers as a form of transportation, something like this will make all the difference in improving the quality of mapping and navigation using Google’s popular Maps app.
What’s common in all of the announcements that Google has made today is the sheer relevance they all hold to the Indian market. It shows that Google is firmly focused on India, and is aiming to cater to a segment of India that has largely been ignored when it comes to technology and internet. It ties in perfectly with the general internet boom and connectivity improvements underway. Let’s hope this effort by Google drives more improvement meant to bring connectivity to the people.