Google for India 2021: new India-specific products announced to drive digital inclusion

Google hosted its annual ‘Google for India’ event, where it announced new product updates focused on the Indian market. This was the 7th edition of Google’s India event.

The new initiatives announced by Google will be seen in the form of product enhancements, enabling never-seen-before features across its apps like Google Search, Google Pay, Google Assistant, and more. In addition to this, the company will take steps to enable learning, employment, and health safety across the country.

COVID-19 vaccination booking via Google Assistant

For instance, Google has announced the first-ever Google Assistant-enabled, end-to-end vaccine booking flow in India. Set to start from early 2022, the feature will allow users in India to simply ask Google Assistant to book a vaccine slot for them. Users will see a Register easily with the Google Assistant button, apart from the regular Register at button. It will let you book your COVID-19 vaccine through a step-by-step guide powered by Google Assistant in any of eight Indian languages, namely Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu.

Google Search updates

Google has updated its Search in India to promote the use of the search engine in local Indian languages. For this, Google Search will now translate web pages to the preferred Indian language of the users. The web pages will automatically be translated based on the search query. This means after searching for something on Google in Hindi, the webpage you open will automatically be translated to Hindi. The new feature can be accessed on any mobile browser that supports Google Search and is now available in five Indian languages including Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam.

Google has additionally introduced the first-ever feature in the world, which can able to start hearing search results out loud in Hinglish as well as five Indian languages, namely Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, and Tamil. You just need to tap the button in Google Search results to hear the given information read back to you in your preferred language.

This update will help people listen to the information they want to get from Google Search. It will also enable Google to reach new users in India by easing the information delivery mechanism – using its voice-driven experience.

Google Pay updates

Google will soon allow the use of voice commands on Google Pay for transactions, through speech to text. Users will simply be able to speak the bank account number in Hindi or English into the app and finalize the amount to make the payments.

Google Pay is also getting a feature called Bill Split later this year that will be available for users in the group to split and settle their shared expenses. The feature comes as an extension to the Groups features on Google Pay.

Additionally, Google Pay is getting a functionality named MyShop that will allow merchants to quickly build their online stores that will be available for access through Google as well as on social media.

The MyShop offering will be available through Google Pay for Business app and will allow merchants to add images, descriptions, and prices of their products. Once created, the listings can be shared online.

Google says that all of these features will go live on Google Pay in the coming months.

Weather alerts

Google has partnered with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) to launch Weather Alerts in the country for extreme climatic conditions. These alerts will now be available through Google Search. Users will also see real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) via the Central Pollution Control Board when searching for queries such as “Air quality near me”, or “Air quality in Delhi”.

Google Learning and Careers

Google has partnered with Coursera to kick off Google Career Certificates – a program meant to offer online certification courses in the fields of data analytics, IT support, UX design, project management, and IT automation, among others.

On the other hand, Google Classroom, the learning platform designed by Google for students and teachers, will now work offline. With this, students will be able to download content whenever they have internet access and then work on it later. The classroom will now also allow the submission of multiple images as homework.

Additionally, parents and students will be able to access practice content with the Practice Problem feature on Search. The feature will show topics from Maths, Physics, Chemistry for high school level learning from education providers in India like Byju's, Vedantu, Careers360, among others.

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