Google revealed plans to roll out new features to India at the Google for India event. The event was attended by CEO Sundar Pichai and Ashwini Vaishnaw, Minister for Railways, Communications and Electronics and Information Technology for the Govt.
At the annual Google for India event, the company announced new features that help make the internet more accessible to Indians. The tech giant talked about its use of AI, better security features in Google Pay and the ability to integrate the Files app with the government-created Digilocker service.
“I believe that artificial intelligence will affect all sectors over time. I am very excited about how we can use artificial intelligence to accomplish our mission at Google. We are increasingly using AI to increase the number of languages we can offer. We are currently working on a powerful AI model that supports 1000 languages. AI will help us bring a multi-modal view to Google search,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google.
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Google is collaborating with the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru for the Vaani project. This project aims to “capture different Indian dialects to build better AI language models”. The project will involve the collection and transcription of open source speech data from all 773 districts in India. This will be possible thanks to the Bhashini project (run by the Indian government). Google aims to develop a “single, unified model capable of handling more than 100 Indian languages in both speech and text.”
New search functions
Google also unveiled new search features at the event. Google’s multiple search feature will soon be available in many Indian languages, starting with Hindi. This feature allows users to search images and text simultaneously. Currently it is only available in English. Google will also launch a first feature in India where search results pages will be bilingual (these results will only be shown to users who prefer bilingual results).
Google will use its “advanced machine learning-based translation models” and “multilingual search technology” for this. This feature has started rolling out in Hindi and will be available in other Indian languages such as Tamil, Marathi, Telugu and Bengali over the coming year.
Better speech recognition
Google has announced that it will improve its speech recognition technology for Hinglish speakers. The company says the new model will “more effectively understand people who speak Hinglish.” This will be possible because it uses a new “neural network-inspired speech recognition model that takes into account the individual’s accents, ambient sounds, context and speaking style”.
File and Digilocker integration
Google is partnering with the National eGovernance Division (NeGD) to help people access their verified digital documents through the “Files by Google” app on Android. This is achieved by integrating the same with Digilocker. The tech giant claims that “Documents stored in Files by Google will be in an isolated environment on the device and will only be accessible using simple lock screen authentication.” The app can also identify important public documents and place them in a secure folder. This applies to PAN card, Aadhaar card as well as important documents stored in the Files app.
Security improvements to Google Pay
Finally, Google announced better security features for Google Pay. These features include multi-layered smart alerts to alert users to suspicious activity.
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