Google has been betting on India for a while now and today’s Google for India event just confirmed that. India and China have been the biggest players in the Internet space for a while now, which is a courtesy to the huge population that the two countries have. Google’s Vice President of Next Billion Users Team, Caesar Sengupta said that this year India crossed the 400 million internet user mark. And Indians are using more data than ever before—4GB on average every month, projected to grow to 11GB per month in the next four years.
And among these, 330 million people are accessing the Internet on their phone. This just shows that people are hardly resorting to PCs for Internet access and makes smartphones just that much important. Now, India being a country of over a billion people, leaves a huge ratio of the population yet to join the Internet. This is the crowd that Google wants to get ahold of with their new slew of India first updates.
Google for India saw a very mobile oriented transition of Google’s plan with the introduction of Android Oreo Go, Google Go, Files Go, Google Assistant for JioPhone, bike mode for Google Map along with Tez momentum and new features. And here we will discuss everything about these new launches.
Android Oreo Go
With their eyes set on improving the smartphone user experience in a country like India where budget smartphones rule the roost. Google has launched a lighter version of Android Oreo which will make the experience on entry-level devices much better. Android Oreo Go will optimize Android Oreo for devices that have 512 to 1GB RAM including a better performing OS with built-in data management features and security benefits.
This version of Android will come with a set of pre-installed Google apps that include Google Go and Google Assistant for Android Oreo (Go edition). These are designed to be lighter and according to Google, more relevant to the unique needs of the next billion users.
The Google Play Store on a device running Android Oreo Go will allow users to download any app while highlighting the apps that are designed to work best on Go edition devices. For more details visit Google’s blog on Android Oreo Go. Phones running Android Oreo (Go edition) will hit shelves in early 2018.
Google Go is one of the core apps that the company has designed for the Android Go edition which takes for Google search. To describe Google Go in a simplistic manner, it is a very optimized search app that will work for devices with low memory and slow connections. It will fetch the results much quicker than the basic Google Search app. It will have a simple interface which will be a boon for people using it for the first time and help then find things quickly and effectively.
Google says that they have made Google Go with three key features in mind that will help the newcomers to the Internet. First-time users find it difficult to type on small devices and it can be slow and cumbersome. To simplify this Google Go’s tap-first user interface will help them better express what they are trying to say and look for.
Secondly, Google Go is made to work in low storage spaces, use less data and work on patchy connections. It’s less than 5MB to download, and search results in Google Go are optimized to save up to 40 percent data.
The third and one of the most important provisions of the app is the ability to switch between languages like Hindi and English to see answers.
Files Go is Google’s attempt to make a file system app which will help people free up space, find files faster and share files offline with people nearby. According to Google’s tests over the last month, the average user saved 1GB of space using Files Go as it is made for Go edition users. Files Go can be downloaded from here and you can learn more about it from Google’s blogs here.
Google Assistant for JioPhone
Google announced a special version of the Google Assistant for the JioPhone today at Google for India. This version of Google Assistant for JioPhone is built for India in and can be used in both English and Hindi. The Assistant can help make phone calls, text, play music and videos, navigate and search the internet, and access other apps and services. And this is Google’s strong try to make smartphone services easily accessible to the millions.
Two-wheeler mode in Google Maps
Another India First feature that was introduced today, is the new “two-wheeler mode” in Google Maps. Google admits that India being the largest two-wheeler market in the world needs a navigation system which helps two-wheeler riders navigate the map differently from automobile drivers.
Two-wheeler mode in Maps shows trip routes that use “shortcuts” not accessible to cars and trucks along with customized traffic and arrival times. The two-wheeler mode will show major landmarks on the route so that riders can plan their trip before starting as well making sure the rider has no need to keep checking the phone.
Two-wheeler is live in India now and will be coming to more countries soon.
Tez momentum and new features
Google’s India-first mobile payments app Tez has seen huge growth in its first 10 weeks, according to the company. And Tez has processed over 140 million transactions from nearly 12 million active users from all over the country. Tez is set to start rolling out a customized experience to pay bills in the app itself. With support for over 70 billers, that includes utilities and direct-to-home service providers.
Once a biller has been added to Tez, there will be no need to do the same again, and Tez will remind users when to pay the next bill. To avoid duplication of payment, the app will mark a particular bill as paid. And people will be able to add animated moments while paying bills that are triggered when certain words are entered like ‘India’ or ‘hello’.