At the seventh edition of Google for India, 2021, the company announced its focus on expanding voice-driven experiences

Internet has become the most critical enabler for both businesses and consumers: Sanjay Gupta, Google

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Updated: November 18, 2021 3:56 PM

At the seventh edition of Google for India, 2021, the company announced its focus on expanding voice-driven experiences

Google, Google for India 2021Interestingly, the number of Indians using voice queries daily is nearly two times the global average.

The digital transformation brought in by the Covid-19 pandemic has led to more Indians consuming content online than ever before. This has further brought an increase in voice search and preference for local content as Indians continue to embrace the opportunities available on digital. “In the last 12-18 months, the internet has become the most critical enabler for both businesses and consumers. In the last 12 months particularly, India has added the highest number of smartphone users, almost 2.5 times of the pre-pandemic era,” Sanjay Gupta, country head and vice president, Google India, said at the seventh edition of Google for India, 2021.

Interestingly, the number of Indians using voice queries daily is nearly two times the global average. Furthermore, one-third of Google Assistant users in India are communicating with it in local languages for needs big and small, Prabhakar Raghavan, senior vice president, Google, said. On the back of this, Google announced the Google Assistant-enabled, end-to-end vaccine booking flow in India in the preferred language. Furthermore, the company also announced its initiative that will give users an option to access web pages from other languages and view them in their preferred local language. This feature has been made available in five different languages.

Aiming to expand voice-driven experiences in local languages, the company will further launch a new feature that will enable people to hear search results out loud. This feature will be available in Hinglish and five Indian languages including Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, and Tamil, and will be extended to other Google Search experiences in the future.

With the Covid-19 pandemic bringing about a huge boom in the digital payments sector, Google India claims that the overall value of transactions on UPI has now crossed $1 trillion on an annualised basis with Google Pay driving more than $400 billion worth of transactions and 15 billion transactions on an annualised basis. Hence, Google Pay further announced the additional option of selecting Hinglish as a preferred language on Google Pay. It will be available in early 2022. Moreover, it also announced the upcoming launch of speech to text, which allows users to use voice as an input to add account numbers into the app to initiate a payment and an additional feature to split bills for shared expenses within a group.

“With over 10 million merchants now on Google Pay for Business, and many more joining the fold of digital payments every day, we are making it easy for merchants and micro-entrepreneurs to create an online presence directly from the Google Pay for business app. With the launch of MyShop – merchants will be able to effortlessly build a storefront where they will be able to add images, descriptions of their products, and prices in an easy and intuitive way, then share the link, through their Business Profile, across Google surfaces and beyond Google on social media. The coming months will see MyShop and other features go live on Google Pay,” Ambarish Kenghe, vice president, product management, Google Pay, said.

Google also announced that it has joined hands with the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to launch a $15 million (Rs 110 crore) financial assistance program, enabling Indian micro-enterprises avail loans of Rs 25 Lakh to Rs 1 crore at competitive interest rates. The program aims to fulfill the credit needs of Indian micro-enterprises, helping them make investments in their business operations, such as purchasing new machinery and equipment, production infrastructure, and working capital requirements.

On the education front, Google plans to launch features to make the Google classroom offline experience seamless. “Students can now download study materials whenever they have access to the internet and work on it later. Teachers can review assignments, share feedback and add grades from anywhere,” Sapna Chadha, VP marketing at Google India, SEA, stated.

The company is also introducing a focussed programme with Google Career Certificates that will help fresh graduates pick up high demand skills in IT support, IT automation, project management, data analytics and UX design. “Working together with Coursera, we are looking to reach 1 million people in the next two years,” Gupta added.

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