Google made a lot of announcements at its event in New Delhi, where it offered a peek into the company’s plans for the Indian market. At the event, also attended by developers and partners, Google showcased its commitment to make relevant products keeping the local consumers in mind. Most announcements involved incremental changes to software, including the Android Oreo (Go Edition) designed to run on low-end phones. The company also talked at length about its flagship “Internet Saathi” programme aimed at bringing digital literacy to millions of women in rural India.
Here’s a recap of the biggest announcements from Google this morning.
Over 330 million users in India access Internet on smartphones
Out of 400 million internet users in India, over 330 million people access Internet on smartphones, said Rajan Anandan, Google’s VP of Southeast Asia and MD of India. Anandan also shared that in the last 15 months or so, 4G speeds in India have drastically improved and affordable mobile data plans have played a big role. Anandan said an average connected user in India consumes around 4GB of 4G data, but that figure might go up to 11GB in the next four years.
Android Oreo (Go Edition) targets budget smartphones
At this year’s I/O, Google revealed Android Go — a lightweight version of Android mobile operating system designed for low-end smartphones. Now, Google has renamed Android Go as Android Oreo (Go Edition). It is launching today with Android 8.1. The company says the first devices from partners will launch in the market in the next few months.
Android Oreo (Go Edition) is designed for entry-level smartphones with 512MB to 1GB RAM. Google claims pre-installed apps have been slimmed down and takes 50 per cent less space. The software giant also announced a number of Go versions of apps, including Google Go, Google Assistant Go, YouTube Go, Google Maps Go, Gmail Go, and the new Files app. Android Oreo (Go Edition) is getting a Play Store that recommends apps that “are tuned to run well on entry-level devices”.
Google Tez app gets 12 million users in 10 months; bill payments feature also announced
At the event, VP of Product Management for the Next Billion Users program at Google, Caesar Sengupta said its digital platform payments app Tez would surpass 12 million user mark in the next couple of days. Sengupta revealed that the app has crossed 140 million transactions since launch, which is 4x growth compared to the average transaction size in the country. Google also said that during the period of October-November, Tez accounted for 70 per cent of transactions of BHIM UPI.
Google Tez app is getting the “Bill Payments” feature. Starting today, Google Tez app supports bill payments of Tata Power, Airtel, Dish TV, ACT Fibernet, DoCoMo, and other utility partners. At launch, Google says Tez app will support 70 billers, ranging from state electricity and national providers, gas, water and DTH recharge.
Reliance JioPhone to support Google Assistant
Reliance JioPhone has become the first feature phone to support Google Assistant. This would be for the first time a feature phone is getting the Assistant support. Google says it has created a special version of Assistant for the JioPhone. Google Assistant for the JioPhone will be available in both English and Hindi.
Google Maps ‘Two-Wheeler’ mode is designed for India
Google Maps “Two-Wheeler” mode has been designed for the Indian market, and it is live from today. The new feature tells you the accurate live update of travel time, it customises the routing and also provides you with enhanced landmark navigation. For instance, if you wish to reach to South Extension, the new mode will calculate the travel time for two-wheelers and a four wheeler with different parameters.
So if you estimate to reach the destination in 50 minutes by car, for example, a two wheeler will take lesser time to reach the same destination. Google says the feature will be helpful for two wheeler rider in India.