Google is continuing to expand its focus on the Indian market with its Google for India initiative. At the annual event, Google revealed some key stats about the Indian internet ecosystem, including the fact that a whopping 90% of India's internet audience is mobile-first. Apart from these statistics, Google also made a few important announcements for the Indian market.
Voice and regional language support is one of the core points of Google's latest announcements for the Indian market. However, the search giant also announced a few other things that would make it easier for the Indian consumers to wade through the internet.
Google launched a brand new mobile payments app called Google Tez in India in September last year. The app is based on Unified Payments Interface, allowing users to transfer money from their bank account to the receiver's bank account for free. Since the launch, Google says that it has clocked transfers of up to $30 billion, highlighting the momentum behind digital payments in the country.
Expanding on this, Google announced that it is renaming Google Tez to Google Pay, but the app will continue to retain its original features. Additionally, Google also announced that it will be bringing online as well as offline merchants on board the Tez app, allowing Tez users to pay using the app.
Another important consumer-facing feature announcement today is that Google Assistant will now support Hindi and soon other Indian languages in the Google Home speaker. The new update also allows users to quickly switch between English and Hindi using a voice command. Apart from this, Google has also integrated service providers like Airtel, Hello English and Where is My Train.
Google has updated its Maps Go app to bring turn-by-turn navigation support as well as a revamped home screen. Google also announced that it has partnered with Redbus, a popular inter-city ticketing service. This will allow Google to include 20,000 routes and 1500 cities in its Maps Go service.
The search giant also announced a new initiative called Project Navlekha to help bring Indian publishers online. Under this project, Google will be using an AI-powered tool that will convert PDFs into editable text, which can then be posted on a mobile-friendly website. For this, Google announced that it will provide free hosting as well as support for branding the websites.
Another big announcement during Google for India was to its Google Go app, a lightweight version of the full-featured Google search app. The latest update to the Google Go app adds support for reading text aloud in 5 Indian languages - Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Marathi and Bengali, apart from English.