If you were starting to wonder why Google was suddenly making a lot of India-centric announcements, it turns out that the reason is that Google For India, the company's second official event aimed at the Indian market, was taking place today.
In it, Google has announced YouTube Go, a new India-first data-conscious app that makes YouTube more ready for offline and lesser data use, and plenty of worldwide improvements to Google Chrome with a focus on data saving and offline use as well.
Now, the company has released a more comprehensive list of all the enhancements and features it's bringing to the Indian market.
Most important maybe, from our readers' perspective, is the announcement that Allo's Assistant and Smart Replies will be able to understand and talk in Hindi "later in the year."
Google is also making some data-friendly improvements to the Play Store, which we've seen before, official. First is the option to preload the most popular parts of the Store on WiFi so that they're available when you're on a slow data connection (Cody found this in a teardown of v6.7 of the Play Store). Second is the checkbox to delay the download of an app or game until you're connected to a WiFi network (which we started spotting earlier this month). The announcement says that these features are available to Indian users on 2G connections, but doesn't say much about other countries so let us know if you spot them outside of India.
The third Google app getting an India-friendly change is Google News and Weather where a new "Lite mode" will be triggered automatically on slow connections. It will remove the fluff to keep just the headlines and essential parts of a news item.
And finally, Google is building on its partnership with Indian Railways and RailTel and expanding into the more general "Google Station," a project that aims to help bring fast WiFi to different locations, not just railways, in India and around the world. Google says it will "provide software and guidance on hardware to turn fiber connections into fast, reliable and safe Wi-Fi zones. Users will get a fast Wi-Fi experience with a simple and unified login, while making it much easier for venues to manage their networks." Wannabe partners can apply at the dedicated website linked above.
This is all part of the company's effort to make internet access and information access more suited to the thousands of new users coming online every day in India. But as Google concludes, making these improvements for India has benefited the rest of the world too since many of these features do end up rolling out worldwide.
- Google India Blog
Image credit: Google India Blog (2015)