Google For India: Android Oreo Go Edition, Assistant on JioPhone, Files Go, and more
Google has continued to customise its services for Indian users. Here are top announcements made by the company at its Google For India event today.
Google on Tuesday announced a raft of new services customised for India with the search giant banking on a meteoric rise in data consumption in the country.
At its Google For India event, the company said Indians are consuming more data than ever before - 4GB on average per month, which is estimated to hit 11GB per month in the next four years.
The announcements also include some milestones accomplished by the company's products tailored for India. For instance, its digital payment platform Google Tez has gone past 140 million transactions and has more than 12 million monthly active users. Based on the government-backed United Payment Interface (UPI) Tez had debuted in India in September.
"In the coming weeks, Tez will start rolling out a customised experience to pay bills right in the app. More than 70 billers will be supported, including utilities and direct-to-home service providers. Once people pay a bill on Tez, they never have to add the billing organization again. Tez will also remind users when certain bills are due. And they can avoid paying the same bill twice, since the payment status will be automatically updated," Caesar Sengupta, VP, Next Billion Users team wrote in a blog post.
Here are the major announcements and launches made by Google today.
Android Oreo (Go Edition)
Google has introduced a lightweight version of its latest Android iteration, Android Oreo. The software has been optimised for entry-level smartphones that have low performance prowess, say 512MB or 1GB of RAM. Called Android Oreo (Go Edition), the software brings the latest of Android as well as built-in data management features and security benefits.
Smartphones running on Android Oreo (Go edition) will feature a customised version of the Google Play Store that notify people about the apps personalised to work best on Go edition devices.
Android Ore (Go Edition) based smartphones will be available in the market starting early next year.
Similar to SHAREit, Google's Files Go application allows users to share files with their friends without spending mobile data. The application is compatible with all smartphones running Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and above.
The application also gives personalised suggestions to user which files to delete or apps that are least used on the device. It also comes with Google Drive support, allowing users to real-time back up their data on the cloud.
Google Assistant on Reliance JioPhone
In what may be one of the biggest announcements of the event, Google has teamed up with telecom giant Reliance Jio to bundle a personalised version of Google Assistant on JioPhone smart feature phones.
"This will help bring the benefits of the Google Assistant to millions of first time internet users on the JioPhone with an intuitive voice-based user interface, along with a rich set of data services. The Assistant can help make phone calls, text, play music and videos, navigate and search the internet, and access other apps and services," Caesar added on the company's blog post.
Two-wheeler mode in Google Maps
Touted as an India-first feature, Google has introduced a two-wheeler mode in Google Maps. The feature essentially shows customised navigation for two-wheelers and routes that are not accessible for cars or trucks. It also shows customised traffic and arrival time estimates. The feature has been rolled out in India today and will be rolled out in other countries very soon.
Google Go is essentially a Lite version of the Search application, but comes with more functionalities. Customised for India's slower mobile networks and a large number of entry-level smartphones, Google Go comes with the local language support and quick shortcuts to Google services such as search, voice search, images, GIFs, YouTube, weather, translate, and Maps.
Google has tied up with Tata Trusts to extend its Internet Saathi programme, which aims to digitally empower women in rural areas of the country. The two companies will be supporting a venture called 'Foundation For Rural Entrepreneurship Development (FREND)'.
"Under this initiative, Google will jointly work with the new foundation, to create digitally enabled livelihood opportunities for the Internet Saathis. FREND, will become a vehicle for other like minded companies and institutions to utilise the Internet Saathi network and enable dissemination of information and services in the rural areas thereby creating newer avenues of income for these women in rural India. This will be in addition to imparting digital literacy to millions of rural women under the ongoing Internet Saathi programme," said the company in a release.