Google is training computers to better understand more Indian languages

By: |
December 17, 2020 8:19 PM

Google on Thursday announced a variety of features to help deliver a better language experience to millions of Indian users.

Google announced that they have come up with a new model of machine learning.

Google India: Google, while bringing its multitude of products to India, has been faced with one challenge all this while – the vast diversity in terms of language. While all over the world, it could focus on developing products, in India, the tech giant had to couple this development with adding support for all the most popular languages in the country so that the internet could be accessible to all the users in India. This was also highlighted by the search engine giant in its Google for India event held earlier this year.

This has finally culminated in Google announcing on Thursday a variety of features to help deliver a better language experience to millions of Indian users.

A new machine learning model for better understanding of languages

Google announced that they have come up with a new model of machine learning which would help in better understanding of the human language, and this model is called Multilingual Representations for Indian Languages or MuRIL. The model specifically aims to scale across the various Indian languages and it can even provide support for transliterated text. This means that after years of people writing Hindi in Roman script, the model would have support for it.

MuRIL, Google said, would also be good at accurately understanding the sentiment of a statement made in an Indian language, and also would be able to identify whether a statement is about a person or a place.

This is not whether things end though. Google has decided to make MuRIL open source, and it can be downloaded for free from the TensorFlow Hub at present. Google has claimed that the model would be the next big step in the understanding of Indian languages and it would aid in building of a better foundation for students, researchers as well as startups.

The tech giant added that at the moment, the machine learning model can provide support for 16 Indian languages apart from English, making this a publicly available model providing the highest coverage for Indian languages among its kind.

Convenient switch

In 2016, Google had taken a big step in Hindi-populated states of India and introduced an easy option allowing people to switch search results between Hindi and English by tapping a simple tab. Since then, Google said, Indian has seen a ten-fold increase in Hindi queries. Taking this forward, Google is now introducing this easy switch tab in four additional Indian languages – Marathi, Bangla, Tamil as well as Telugu.

Smart solution for Indian Search needs

It can be difficult for people to type their queries in a native script, because people are used to using the QWERTY keyboard on their phones. As a result of this, if a person attempts to make a query in their native language, it can take up to thrice the time it would take to type it in English, leaving many people to type in English even if they wish to type in a local language. However, Google has now stated that over the coming month, Search would begin displaying the relevant content in multiple Indian languages when it deems it appropriate, regardless of whether the local query has been typed in English or the local language. This would also be helpful for bilingual people. This functionality can currently support five languages in India – Bangla, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi.

Preferred language in apps

People would now also be able to select their preferred language for Discover as well as Google Assistant and make them separate from the language set for the phone, if they so desire. This functionality is also being extended to Google Maps, where users would be able to choose from nine Indian languages, the company said.

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