The Pixel 3 was the last flagship phone that Google released in India; neither the Pixel 4 nor Pixel 5 ever made it to one of the world's largest smartphone markets. While it still doesn't sound like Pixel flagships will be coming there anytime soon, Google may be planning a surprisingly India-inclusive launch for its next midrange phone.
The Google Pay app has seen a major overhaul recently, being a more wholistic approach to shopping and money transfers in addition to a basic payment tool. This change hasn't been universally appreciated, but it's there nonetheless. Starting next week, Google Pay users in India will see a new option: targeted advertising based on traffic and spending habits. Google calls it "personalization."
Earlier this year, Google committed a corpus of $10 billion for driving digital growth in India, of which a large portion went to Reliance Jio. Of the remaining fund, the search giant has now started investing in its own ambitious projects and various other local startups that align with its vision of digital inclusion. The services to get Google's backing include two major local news ports, Glance and Dailyhunt, alongside their sister short-video services.
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.
We're all familiar with the "knowledge panels" that pop up in Google when a famous person's name is searched, but Google has been working on something like this, which it calls "people cards," for us regular people. We first learned about this back in February, when Google published some support pages (that it quickly took down), but the feature officially launched in India in August and is now coming to some African countries as well.
When Google announced that its new budget champ, the Pixel 4a, would cost ₹30,000 — a whole 25% less than the Pixel 3a — it felt like Google has finally learned to hit the right note for India. The company nearly checked all the right boxes: the release was well-timed, coinciding with Flipkart’s month-long Diwali extravaganza, and user interest in the phone was right at its peak. It all paid off when the 4a opened to blockbuster sales with units flying off the (virtual) shelves, and then… Google happened. Stocks dried up in a matter of minutes, and Google wasn't able to replenish them for over two weeks.
Google’s been facing antitrust cases left, right, and center in nearly all its major global markets, and it looks like those legal woes aren’t going away anytime soon. While the search giant’s Indian arm has already been contesting a couple of existing anti-competitive lawsuits (it was even fined $21 million in one of them), a new case alleges similar behavior in the smart TV market and makes some serious accusations about Google abusing its dominance.
Google for India is the annual event where many company executives, including Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, take the stage to announce what’s next for Google in the country. This year’s digital event was a little different and focused more on education — a sector that has been badly hit as a result of recent lockdowns — in addition to small businesses. The biggest takeaway from today's event was the $10 billion investment parent company Alphabet is committed to the development of its Indian business.
Celebrations for the festival of colors, Holi, are on in the Indian subcontinent, with Google also partaking in its own way. The company’s digital take on the festivity includes an Easter egg on its search results screen that lets you splash the entire page with paint. After you’re done creating a multicolored mess like a kid (which is actually fun), an option will help you clean the screen and carry on with your dull day as if nothing happened.