It seems better days are yet to come as far as internet is concerned in India. At the Google For India event in New Delhi yesterday, the tech giant announced new features focused on the Indian demographic, including its plans for WiFi Station, YouTube Go mode, Google Assistant in Hindi, and data saving modes for Chrome and Play Store.
Allo, the new messaging app launched by Google a few days ago, will also understand Hindi by the end of the year, announced Google. It won't be long before other languages are added to the list, considering India is Google's second largest market. Currently, of the 100 languages recognised by Translator, 12 are Indian.
After introducing offline features for Maps, where a user can save a route and access it offline, Google announced that Play Store will have a feature that optimises download over 2G network. Google News will get a lighter version soon. It will also enable a data saving mode for videos on Chrome, and download web pages or videos for later viewing.
YouTube Go: For low bandwidth consumption
YouTube Go is another new app offered specifically for the Indian market, focusing on optimising use for slow data. The soon-to-be-launched app will allow users to save, share and preview videos, all on minimum data use.
The preview feature lets users decide whether they want to watch the video or not, based on a small but quick preview. When downloading or saving videos, users can select resolution, and also view the amount of data it will consume. Users can share videos using WiFi direct to those who are nearby—requiring no internet but a Bluetooth connection, at the most.
Users who are interested in spending the least amount of bandwidth to watch YouTube videos can now sign up by leaving their mobile numbers or email Ids on http://youtubego.com/signup
Free public WiFi across India is closer to reality
Google already provides free WiFi at 53 stations across India, including Mumbai Central, Pune, Indore, Ranchi, Ernakulam Junction and Patna. Tying up with RailTel, Google recently estimated that over two million users consume data 15 times more than on regular mobile networks at these stations. As part of a larger plan to make WiFi free for public around the world, especially in emerging economies, Google Stations will fix the problem of unreliable and slow public WiFi.
According to reports, Google will provide public stations—such as railway hubs, cafes, hotels—with a preconfigured router and a set of tools. Besides this, users can login to different hotspots with just one ID and password, eliminating the need to ask for a password at every hotel or restaurant. Google Fibre would provide internet at 1GB speed per second.
India was the testing ground for this project, and has proven to be a success. Railway stations have a continuous supply of power, and India has existing fibre optic cables spanning more than 20,000km along these stations. Additionally, the number of people who pass through railway stations is phenomenal.
Currently, there is a one-hour limit per user, with the speed automatically decreasing after the first 30 minutes. The company plans to add 50 more stations by the end of year, and cover almost 400 stations in the near future.