At a recent event in New Delhi, Google made a lot of announcements as it offered a sneak peek into the company’s plans for the Indian market. The event was also attended by developers and partners. Google showcased its commitment to make relevant products keeping the local consumers in mind during the event. Most of the announcements were related to incremental changes to software, including the Android Oreo (Go Edition) designed to run on low-end phones. Google also talked about its flagship “Internet Saathi” program aimed at bringing digital literacy to millions of women in rural India. Here is a quick recap of the biggest announcements from the company:
Over 330 million users in India access Internet on smartphones
According to Rajan Anandan VP of Southeast Asia and MD of India Google was seen quoting that out of 400 million internet users in India over 330 million people access Internet on smartphones. In the last 15 months or so the 4G speeds in India have drastically improved due to accessibility of 4G and affordable mobile data plans have played a big role which is a result of the recent telecom wars between Reliance Jio, Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, BSNL and others who offered cheaper tariffs and more data consumption. Internet users have increased exponentially, and Google has benefited the most from this war. Moreover Rajan added that the consumption of internet is 4GB on average every month which will grow to 11GB per month in the next four years. Internet users are hungry for better online experiences and he told that Google is working to build new products and features keeping the crowd in mind.
Android Oreo (Go edition)
Android Go was the first announcement made during Google’s developers conference earlier in this year. The idea is to create a stripped down version of its latest Android Oreo platform provided with lightweight apps that are optimized for entry-level devices or phones that are low on RAM and storage. On Tuesday the company announced the roll out of Android Oreo (Go edition) with the launch of Android Ore 8.1.Android One devices require at least 1GB of RAM but now Android Go handsets will be able to support RAM of 512 MB. The company adds that apps designed for Android Go will load 15 per cent faster compared to regular apps. Google Go, Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go and Gmail Go Google’s primary services will be available in Android Go versions. Play Store in all Android Go devices will feature both apps designed for Android Go as well as regular apps and the users can choose to download both kinds of apps.
The Google Go app is designed to bring millions and millions of first-time users in countries like India and Indonesia online by providing an easy-to-use,fast and user friendly experience on entry-level devices and with spotty connections. The app is are designed and optimized in a way that they can be used for phones with low RAM and for unstable connections. The app comes with a tap-first interface that allow users to access news, search and explore all though a few taps only which makes it easier for users who used to find it difficult to type on a small device and also allows users see answers in another language and switch easily. Google Go is of 5MB in size only and will be available as a preview version on Google Play Store from today.
The new Files Go app is designed to free the space on phones with storage as low as 4GB and the ability to transfer files from one app to another app offline without using any internet connection. This app provides suggestions to users on files like unused apps, large or heavy file or duplicate files. It works similar to AirDrop on iOS and macOS. Files Go sharing uses bluetooth to transfer files to nearby Android devices but will only work if both the parties have Files Go App installed on their phones. It is available on Google Play Store for phones running on Android 5.0 Lollipop and higher.
Google Assistant for Jio Phone
Google announced that Assistant will be available on Jio Phone where users can access Assistant via the app for all the queries like finding of local information, playing music or videos, or changing the settings of your device etc. by simply talking and not typing. From today the app will be automatically available to Jio Phone users.
- Two-wheeler mode in Google Maps
The new two-wheeler mode enabled in Google Maps comes with customized traffic and arrival time estimation and will also show the major landmarks on the route which will help riders to plan their trip before starting. This feature is only available in India for now but the company is planning to roll out it to other countries in the upcoming months.
- Bill payment in Tez
In September 2017, Google launched Tez which is a UPI-based digital payments app which has over 140 million transactions from nearly 12 million active users and as a result of the tremendous useage in the market they will it will be adding a bill payment feature similar to Paytm and rolling out soon in the market.
More than 70 billers will be supported that includes utilities and direct-to-home service providers. In Tez app the billing organization details would be added so that users won’t have to add it every time when they pay the bill and will also remind users when their bill is due and when they have to pay the same. It will avoid users to pay the same bill twice as the payment status will be automatically updated.