Search engine giant Google is looking to reach more users in India with two new services: Google Home and Google Feed. Offering a customised content feed, the Google Feed technology will reportedly be available in 20 Indian languages.
The move is geared towards reaching a larger section of the country’s regional language-speaking population.
The internet company is also working towards making its smart speaker service Google Home available in the Indian market. Rivalling Amazon’s voice-based virtual assistant Alexa, the technology will likely be unveiled in India early next year.
Commenting on the development, VP Engineering of Google Search Shashidhar Thakur said, “India is a super-high priority for us. It’s difficult to say exactly how soon, but we want to get Google Feed to India soon. We are also putting quite a bit of energy into search engine’s language diversity needs in India, focussing on 20-odd Indian languages.”
The company has long been dabbling in technologies that curate personalised, user-oriented digital content. In July, Google released a new service for mobile phones that tracks a user’s search history, location and other preferences to provide a highly-customised news feed.
To bolster the service further, the company will soon be integrating a “new-to-you” feature aimed at making a user’s favourite topics easily accessible. With a focus on promoting local content, Google is currently working to enhance the search engine’s language diversity support.
Thakur added, “There are different ways to write ‘Virendra’ in the Devanagari script and Hindi script. Building these kinds of aspects into our algorithms is a challenge. Investing in these aspects will ultimately improve the feed experience too.”
Following its launch in India, Google Home will reportedly allow users to operate the smart speaker and assistant in regional languages. A source with knowledge of the company’s upcoming plans stated, “Hindi and Tamil are some of the languages that we will test out for Google Home. Ultimately, it will aim to be an Indian household’s go-to source for booking a cab, setting reminders, playing music, turning off the lights and so on.”
A Look At Google’s Recent, India-Specific Initiatives
In the last few years, Google has deployed several services geared towards strengthening its presence in the Indian tech market. In September 2016, the company created a website called Bharat Saves to assist Indian users in financial planning activities.
During the same period, it launched five new products for improving internet access of Indian users, including YouTube Go, Hindi-enabled Assistant for Allo, faster browsing on 2G connections, Station WiFi and data-saving features in Chrome for mobile. The multinational company also announced plans to set up a ‘Cloud region’ in India.
In April 2017, VP of Google Southeast Asia and India Rajan Anandan revealed the company’s plans to train up to 2 Mn mobile developers on Android. As part of the initiative, the tech giant rolled out its ‘Solve for India’ programme to empower developers from Tier II cities.
The company has been especially proactive in providing support to entrepreneurs in India with such initiatives as Google Developers’ Launchpad Build, wherein 11 women entrepreneurs were offered special training.
Last month, it reportedly held talks with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to integrate its mobile payment service Android Pay with UPI. This would be Google’s first foray into India’s burgeoning digital payments industry. In the same month, the company made its first Indian acquisition; taking over Bengaluru-based artificial intelligence startup Halli Labs.
Despite undergoing large-scale diversification in recent years, Google’s search engine remains its biggest arsenal. With the launch of Google Home and its personalised content feed, the company hopes to bolster the search engine technology, while also widening its user base in India.
(The development was reported by TOI)