Google Announces A Slew Of Initiatives For India
As Google turned 18 on Tuesday, the US technology giant announced a slew of initiatives especially tailored to India. At its annual flagship event in India this year that was held at the National Capital, Vice-President of Google’s Next Billion Plan, Ceaser Sengupta said the company is extending its WiFi project beyond the Railway stations to include most popular public places. The company also launched a new version of YouTube, inspired by India called YouTube Go which will be faster and more data efficient will enable both viewing and sharing videos completely offline.
In a time span of less than a year, Google started working on it’s WiFi mission to connect railway stations in India, has now introduced a new program to provide free public wi-fi services across the world, including places like malls and cafes, and the name is Google Station. The plan for the same was laid out at the second leg of the Google for India event taking place in Delhi, where the also mentioned that Google would be opening up the platform to anyone who has a good enough internet connection.
The inspiration for the Google Station service actually was borne out of the the earlier project, where Google partnered with Indian Railways, in an effort to connect all stations via wi-fi services everyday. The project got launched across 52 stations, which were being used by 3.5 million Indian on a daily basis, out of approximately 15,000 of them would be new users, on a daily basis.
Read More: 18 Ways Google Has Changed The World
Sengupta explained, “Our goal has not just been to help more Indians get online, but also to help Indians create the online experience they want; one that serves their needs and enables them to have an impact on the entire world. So we have been thinking about how to build products and services for this wave of new users, products that work for any level of connectivity, in local Indian languages, and across the devices that are most frequently used in India.”
Sengupta also clarified on the company’s sincere efforts of bringing free internet to everybody in the country, and has even talked about offering monetary benefits to the partners on the latest project launch.
For the next generation of Youtube users, Google launched YouTube Go, the new mobile app. Johanna Wright, the YouTube Vice-President For Product management explained, “YouTube Go is a brand new app to help the next generation of users share and enjoy videos. YouTube Go was designed and built from the ground up with insights from India, in order to bring the power of video to mobile users in a way that is more conscious of their data and connectivity, while still being locally relevant and social.”
YouTube Go will allow users to save and watch videos smoothly even in poor connectivity. It will also give them transparency and control over how much data they consume on videos, allowing them to preview videos first and choose the video’s file size before they save it offline to watch later. Users will also be able to share videos easily with friends and family nearby, without using any data at all.
Chrome on mobile
Google Chrome on mobile will have a new expanded Data Saver mode to reduce the data used by the browser. This applies to mobiles, Chromebooks and even computers. The new update will support MP4 videos, saving up to 67% of video data. and the browser will also optimise pages when on 2G networks, and these ‘simplified pages’ will load up to two times faster, claims Google, which in turn will let users “save web pages, videos, music, and pictures on their phone.” The content will show in the Downloads tab, and it can be accessed even when the user is offline.
Rajan Anandan, Google Vice President, India and South East Asia added that the majority of new Indian Internet users coming online on slow networks and are non English speakers. He also said Hindi content consumption was growing five times faster than English language content online. Google is partnering with the government and Indian enterpises to bridge the digital education and gender divide.
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