Google has a massive user base in India, but, until recently, there's been a dearth of Google products that support Indian languages. At this year's Google for India event, the company announced that it is taking strides to correct that.
The company, noting that the number of Indian language users on the web is expected to reach 500 million in the next two years, revealed a slew of products that are already or will soon be receiving support for new languages.
- Google Assistant: Now supports Marathi, with seven more Indian languages coming soon.
- Google Search: Now shows dictionary definitions in English and Hindi, as well as turning up news from sources in both languages. A tipster has shown us this applies to Google's lightweight Go search app, too. The images above show how users can switch between English and Hindi tabs.
- Google Feed: Now available in English and Hindi, and is also set to support Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, and Tamil in the coming weeks.
- Google Maps: Will get voice guidance in both English and Hindi.
The Mountain View-based company also says it's working to bring more Indian language content online with a new project called Navlekhā (derived from Sanskrit for "a new way to write"). According to Google, the amount of online content in Indian languages is only 1 percent of what's available in English. Its solution to this issue is to provide print publications with an AI tool that renders Indian language PDFs into editable text, among other incentives to go digital.
Additionally, the most commonly spoken Indian languages will be supported by Google Go's new feature for listening to webpages, as well, including Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Marathi, and Tamil. Google promises its read-out service will be capable of reading billions of webpages in a smooth, natural sounding voice, even on 2G.
Beyond language support, there's also new third-party app integration, including Google Assistant support for carrier app Airtel and Google Maps' partnership with RedBus, India's largest inter-city bus ticketing service. Plus, Google fully rebranded Tez, its mobile payments platform in India, to Google Pay.
While it may seem like a surprisingly large number of announcements, these changes only make sense and, in many cases, likely feel overdue to those who live in India. The South Asian country is among Google's largest markets, so it's only appropriate that it serves Indians in their own languages, and focuses on providing relevant content to those users.
- XDA Developers