It's no secret that India is one of the most linguistically diverse nations in the world. With 22 official languages and a hundred more that aren't, it can be quite challenging for a company to break the language barrier. But Google has been making efforts to localize its products and services for a billion Indians and it's now sharing all that it's accomplished so far at its L10n India event.
A few of the announcements made at the event addressed the availability of more languages in some of Google's most popular apps and services. For starters, Maps in India will now be available in 9 local languages, including Gujarati, Marathi, and Tamil. Similarly, Google is making it easier to switch results to Indian languages — five to be precise — within Search.
An interesting tidbit from the event was that more people use Google Lens in India every month than anywhere else in the world. Hence, in order to serve Indians better, Google is now enabling the use of Lens — which can also help students with solving math problems — in Hindi.
But the most far-reaching announcement at the event was that of MuRIL (Multilingual Representations for Indian Languages) — a new open-source multilingual AI/ML model that can use the knowledge, data, and learnings of one language and apply it in another language. Initially, to address the idiosyncrasies of each language, Google would've had to build a separate model for each one. But considering the sheer diversity, this surely wouldn't be the most resource-efficient way to go about breaking the language barrier.
With MuRIL, Google hopes to ease the development of Indian language technologies and achieve its promise of bringing the billionth Indian online. Being open-source, MuRIL is already available to download from TensorFlow Hub.