Google For India event 2016 took place today, and the search giant has made some top announcements for the country, which includes products designed just for India. Google is holding the event on its 18th birthday, and it shows the kind of importance the Indian market has for the company. Last year’s Google for India event had announced the Google WiFi project at Railway stations across India.
For this year, Google has announced products like YouTube Go, Google Station for public WiFi and more. Here’s a look at the top announcements.
Google Station is inspired by Google’s free WiFi project at India’s railway stations. Google says that over 52 stations in India now have high-quality WiFi and cater to 3.5 million people each month with over 15,000 new customers coming online via these stations. Google had partnered with RailTel for the WiFi project at these railway stations.
Google Station will take this high-speed Internet project beyond railway stations into malls, bus stops, cafes, university campuses, etc. Google Station will help partners roll-out WiFi hotspots in public places and the search giant will provide them with the right tools to monetise these public WiFi hotspots.
According to Google, they will provide “software and guidance on hardware to turn fiber connections into fast, reliable and safe WiFi zones.” From a simple unified login,to managing networks, Google Stations could mean a big turnaround for public WiFi hotspots in India.
Google says this project is just starting and they are looking for partners to work with in order to bring high quality WiFi.
YouTube Go is the new mobile app from Google which will help users save on data while browsing YouTube for videos. YouTube GO will let users preview videos before they decide to watch them or even save them. A user will also have the option of controlling their data spent by choosing a particular resolution/MB size before saving the video on the app.
The app is optimised to work over slower networks as well, and it has a new feature where a user can instantly share videos with friends or family members who are nearby, without spending on data. The app relies on Bluetooth to discover friends and uses WiFi Direct to transfer the video.
YouTube Go will be India-only at first, says Google. Those who wish to try out the app need to sign up at youtubego.com/signup for more details.
Google Assistant in Hindi
Google Allo’s messaging app has Google Assistant and Smart replies feature, and the company plans to make this available in Hindi soon. The app already understands English and Hinglish, and Hindi is where it is headed next.
Google says they will be rolling out the Assistant in Hind soon, and the automated smart replies which Allo suggests will also be available in Hindi.
Chrome on mobile: Data saving features
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. According to Google, “this new update will support MP4 videos, saving up to 67% of video data.” The browser will also optimise pages when on 2G networks, and these ‘simplified pages’ will load up to two times faster.
Google says more than 90 per cent of user data will be saved in the new Chrome. It also has a new Download feature which 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.
Google Play will also be optimised to work better on 2G connections. Google says it is launching two new “experimental features to improve the experience,” for users in India. First the Google Play app will now pre-load the most popular parts of the store on Wi-Fi. Also when installing an app, Google Play will give the option of “Wait for Wi-Fi” and install the app when the phone connects to Wi-Fi and save data.
Google News and Weather gets a new “Lite mode” for people on low-bandwidth connections. It will keep the headline, but trim the rest of the content so that the news item loads quickly. Google says this version of the app “uses less than one-third the data,” and Lite mode will start automatically on slow networks.