It was the 9th edition of Google for India, the flagship event for the tech giant where it made some key announcements. Google for India shared on X, formerly Twitter,”We, at Google, are committed to being a trusted, responsible and valued partner in India’s digital transformation journey. And today at #GoogleForIndia, we announced a series of efforts to support that journey.”
The overarching theme for the event was inspired by India’s lunar exploration mission Chandrayaan-3. Taking to their blog, Google India said,”The momentous Chandrayaan-3 mission was in many ways a perfect example of how India is embracing technology. It’s inspiring to see how readily Indians weave new technologies into their daily lives. But that also means we need to be constantly innovating to keep up with rocketing user expectations. It inspires us to push technology to its limits for our “moonshots” with a bold, but responsible approach: of building products to be evermore helpful, simple to use and secure.”
Top announcements from Google India:
- Manufacturing Pixel smartphones in India
Joining the Government’s Make in India initiative. Google announced that it will manufacture its Pixel smartphones on India and intends to start from Pixel 8. Google CEO Sundar Pichai posted on X, “We shared plans at #GoogleforIndia to manufacture Pixel smartphones locally and expect the first devices to roll out in 2024. We’re committed to being a trusted partner in India’s digital growth- appreciate the support for Make In India @PMOIndia + MEIT Minister @AshwiniVaishnaw.”
Rick Osterloh, Senior Vice President, Devices and Services, Google said, “With Pixel, we set out to bring hardware and software together with AI at the centre to deliver simple, fast and smart experiences. And today Pixel is truly the manifestation of our early vision of AI-centric mobile computer.”
- Leveraging AI for better product experiences
Google CEO posted, “We also introduced a more visual + local generative AI experience on Search to help surface AI-powered overviews on essential government programs, new Search features for small businesses, easier access to formal credit via Google Pay + more.”
With Generative AI, Google plans to enable better citizen services in every Indian language. Using AI, people will be able to seamlessly explore local places and things to do in a city through Google Search. Further enhancing the Search feature, now small and medium businesses will soon show up with a more visual, relevant and easily-filterable product feed. Through Google Merchant Center Next, small businesses can leverage AI to build high quality catalogs online. In the coming weeks, users coming to Search for authoritative information on various government schemes will be able to easily navigate and access critical details of more than 100 such initiatives.
- Expanding reach of Digital Credit on Google Pay
Google India announced its partnership with Axis Bank to distribute personal loans. For merchant loans, it has collaborated with ICICI Bank and for seamless repeat loans with Indifi. Google Pay is enabling a credit line for merchants in partnership with ePayLater, helping solve the working capital requirements of merchants. In collaboration with ICICI Bank, Google Pay has also launched Credit lines on UPI. Google Pay also introduced sachet loans with DMI Finance that will provide flexibility and convenience to small and medium businesses, with loans starting at just ₹15,000 and can be repaid in simpler repayment amounts as low as ₹111 rupees
Ambarish Kenghe, Vice President, Google Pay said, “Early results with credit products on Google Pay have been encouraging, with half of the loans disbursed through Google Pay to borrowers with less than 30,000 rupees of monthly income, a vast majority of which belong to tier 2 towns and beyond.”
- Enhancing user safety
Google India launched DigiKavach, an early threat detection and warning system designed to identify and study emerging financial fraud patterns to protect people against ever-evolving financial scams. Additionally, Google.org is providing a grant of $4 million to Cyber Peace Foundation to equip 40 million Indians with skills to combat misinformation and make responsible online choices.
Highlighting how Google Play Protect is always on, combing through the Android phones to track malware in harmful apps, Saikat Mitra, Vice President & Head of Trust & Safety for APAC, Google said, “I’m glad to announce that starting with India, we are making Google Play Protect even more powerful with enhanced real-time code-level scanning to protect users from emerging threats.”
- Using Cloud infrastructure for citizen-centric solutions
In order to democratise information using Generative AI, Google Cloud has partnered with Axis My India and launched an inclusive and multilingual app “a” to increase “people’s awareness, accessibility and utilization of government social welfare schemes, basic day-to-day amenities, employment opportunities, and healthcare benefits”.
Google Cloud and ONDC or Open Network for Digital Commerce expanded their partnership to empower Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) to sell their products online. Through Google Cloud’s Generative AI and language capabilities, FPOs will now be able to build catalogues and reach out to merchants across the country, with just a few clicks.
Google Map has also partnered with ONDC to support metro ticket booking via integrated buyer apps.