You can't underestimate the benefits of a good education, and one of the first pillars of that is the ability to read. When I travelled to Nepal a couple of months ago, I was astonished by how thirsty for learning children in rural areas are. In the afternoon, many were being dropped off by their bus miles away from any village and had to (literally) trek up hills to get back home. In the morning, many could be seen carrying their backpacks and walking for at least half an hour or more just to get to their school or bus. And us privileged folks complain about waking up early to catch the bus that picks us up right from our doorstep! This is why I'm happy to see Google take learning to heart with its new Bolo reading app.

Available now in India, Bolo aims to help kids read English and Hindi without supervision from their parents. Free, no ads, no privacy concerns, offline. And most importantly, the personalized reading tutor, Diya, uses the same text-to-speech tech found in Google Assistant to hear kids' pronunciation and help them improve. Plus she can explain words they don't understand.

Currently, Bolo has over 50 stories in Hindi and 40 in English, and offers word games, rewards, and badges to keep children engaged. The same app can also be used by several kids, with each getting a personalized profile and adjusted progress according to their abilities.

Google has been piloting Bolo in 200 Indian villages and has now released it as an open beta for anyone to use. In the future, it also plans to expand Bolo's reach to other languages.

The app is compatible with Android 4.4 KitKat and above. It's currently available on the Play Store in India, but you can manually download it from APK Mirror. This might be handy if you're an immigrant and want to keep your children in touch with their Hindi language roots.

Spanish and Portuguese

Google says that after Bolo's successful launch in India, it's expanding the app later this month to add support for two more languages: Spanish and Portuguese.