January 22, 2016

Waiting for your train in Mumbai? How about streaming some HD videos while you wait

[Cross posted from the Official Google APAC Blog]

Trains are the lifeblood of India, and train stations sit at the heart of most cities across the country. More than 23 million people, equal to the total population of Australia, get on a train in India every day. Inevitably, many of them end up spending a lot of time in train stations.

Starting today, those passing through Mumbai Central station will have access to something that we hope will make their wait a bit more enjoyable and productive — free, high-speed Wi-Fi. So, if you’re one of the 100,000 people who’ll pass through Mumbai Central today, go ahead, stream the video below in HD to learn more. After that, how about sending those last minute work emails, downloading a new game or offlining a few YouTube videos to keep the kids, and yourself, entertained on the journey ahead.

While we’re thrilled to have the Wi-Fi at this station up and running, it’s really just a small first step. As our CEO, Sundar Pichai, said when we first announced this project, this is just the first of 100 train stations we’ll be bringing online by the end of the year. And one of 400 stations, across every part of India, that we aim to reach in the years ahead in partnership with Indian Railways and RailTel.

We’re hoping those of you from — or traveling through — Allahabad, Jaipur, Patna and Ranchi, will be as excited to learn that your stations are up next!  Stay tuned for details on when you too will be able to start streaming while you wait.

So how does all of this work?

Well, if you’re in Mumbai Central, or, soon, in one of these next four stations, you’ll know that high-speed Wi-Fi is available if you see the ‘RailWire Wi-Fi’ network in your Wi-Fi settings. If you see it, select it and follow the simple steps below to gain access on your phone and up to two additional devices, like a laptop or tablet — you’ll just need an Indian mobile number to get an access code for each device:
The Wi-Fi will be entirely free to start, so you can stream and download to your heart’s content. While there will always be some level of free Wi-Fi available, the long-term goal will be making this self-sustainable to allow for expansion to more stations and places, with RailTel and other partners, in the future. Also, to make sure that a few people spending all day in the station downloading lots of big files don’t slow down the network for everyone, users might notice a drop in speed after their first hour on the network. Most people should still be able to do the things they’ll want to do online.

Finally, though we’re not going to put a number on it, the thing we’re most excited about with this service is the speed. Most people in India do not have high-speed connectivity. Sadly, connections here are among the slowest in Asia. According to some sources, only around 2 to 4 million households, in a country of 1.3 billion people, have a connection fast enough to stream an HD movie.

We like to think that the thousands, and soon millions, of Indians who come through these stations every day, experiencing the full-speed, open Internet for the first time, will help to push for better connectivity in other places as well. Because we know that even though this project will be the largest public Wi-Fi project in India to date – making Wi-Fi fast enough to stream an HD movie available to 10 million people a day by the end of the year – there are still nearly a billion Indians who have no Internet at all, and millions more who experience just a fraction of the Internet we rely on everyday to learn and laugh and connect with the people we love.

Posted by Gulzar Azad, Head of Access Programs, Google India

Show your love for India’s languages and culture with Google at the Jaipur Literature Festival

We’re back at the Jaipur Literature Festival this year, this time with a ‘Love Your Language’ event that will run from January 21 to 25.

‘Love Your Language’ is all about making content in different Indian languages more widely available on the web. By contributing to the Google Translate Community during the event, Google Translate can boost translation of these languages, making content on the Internet more accessible to millions of people. Presently, Google Translate is available for nine of India’s 22 official languages, but languages that are under-represented on the Internet like Bengali, Telugu, and Tamil could use a little help.

New Compressed.jpg

You can contribute to the Google Translate Community on your phone, laptop or computer. Just type, swipe or tap translations in the languages you speak. You have the option to either translate phrases directly, or validate existing translations.

And with the Google Indic Keyboard, we’ve made it easier to input Hindi and ten other Indian languages, including Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu, with your Android phone or tablet.

You can learn more about the Translate Community and the Google Indic Keyboard at a demo zone located at the Google Mughal Tent. Even if you can’t make it to the Festival, you can still help impove Indian languages at translate.google.com/community.

While you’re at the Festival, drop by the Google Tent near Durbar Hall to view highlights of our heritage on the Google Cultural Institute, an initiative that builds technologies so that anyone can access culture anywhere.

Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan

We’ll have monuments, artworks, crafts and narratives from across Rajasthan and some of our 29 Indian partners on the Cultural Institute on virtual display — and you’ll be able to visit many of these in an immersive experience using Google Cardboard.

Come join us, for a journey across India’s languages and cultures!

See you there!

Posted by Sapna Chadha, Country Marketing Manager, India

January 18, 2016

Take a first look at India In A Day!

On October 10, we invited every Indian to film a day in their lives and tell us how the Internet and technology are changing every aspect of life in India. We’ve received over 8,000 submissions amounting to hundreds of hours of footage, and are in the process of selecting the best entries from those for the full-length film. Meanwhile, here’s a first look at India In A Day.

This video, which previewed during Sundar Pichai’s keynote at Google For India, focuses on how technology is helping transform India. It tells the stories of three people: the lone English-speaker in a village untouched by the Internet; a WiFi user without a connection of his own; and a young man who has begun developing mobile apps amidst the lush green rice fields of Kerala.

Executive-produced by Ridley Scott and Anurag Kashyap, directed by Richie Mehta, supported by Zoya Akhtar, R. Balki and Shekhar Kapur, and filmed by you, India In A Day premieres in 2016.

Posted by Samit Malkani, Brand Lead, Google India

January 13, 2016

Help your favorite Startup win big @ StartUp India StandUp India

India today is at the forefront of the Startup revolution in the world and becoming a hotbed of latest tech innovation made for the world.  We at Google have been committed to help young entrepreneurs and Startups achieve their vision and fuel India’s startup ecosystem. At 4,200 enterprises, India already ranks 3rd in the world for the number of start ups after the US and the UK (source: Nasscom).  With three to four startups emerging every day this number is expected to reach several thousands by 2020.

With the Startup India Stand up India event, the Government of India has shown great foresight in providing a platform to the Startups in the country to engage Industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs to come together and drive the spirit of entrepreneurship forward in the country. And we’re delighted to carry forward the vision and align with ‘Start-up India Stand Up India’ efforts, with a special session focussing on early stage startups by providing them a platform to present their ideas to the world under our Launchpad Program.

We have shortlisted five innovative startups through a robust selection process. And in the next two days we are inviting you to vote for your favorite Startup. Based on the highest votes, top three startups will receive an invite to join the next  Google Launchpad Week and one final winner will be selected by our eminent panel of judges comprising of key VCs, and Google global leaders who will hear the pitches live and win $100,000 in Google cloud credits. They will also be eligible for consideration to the Launchpad Accelerator Program in July 2016, provided they meet the program criteria.

Here are the 5 shortlisted startups. To watch their details profile videos and vote for your favorite, click here:

Reap Benefit
Founded in July 2013, Reap Benefit is a social enterprise which aims to solve local environment & civic problems (sanitation, waste, air quality, energy) by engaging the youth. In the last 3 years, they have saved more than 200 tonnes of waste, 2 million litres of water, 100,000 units of power​, and developed low cost solutions like water less urinals, weather stations, organic enzyme to convert food waste into compost and many more.

MIRCaM stands for Mobile Intelligent Remote Cardiac Monitor. MIRCaM comprehensive suite comprises of a Bodyworn unit, Patient’s Bedside Unit, MIRCaM Doctor’s Terminal and MIRCaM Doctor’s Mobile App. It provides real time analysis and generate instant alarms on episode detection, thus enhancing patient care and safety. It gives new possibilities for monitoring of vital parameters with wearable biomedical sensors, and will give the patient the freedom to be mobile and still be under continuous monitoring and thereby offer better quality of patient care.

Founded in May 2013, Guru-G converts existing content into adaptive teaching packs. These packs provide in-class guidance to teachers on different ways in which they can teach a topic. The guidance adapts to the teacher’s past behaviour, student moods & the practices that have resulted in best learning outcomes for their students.

Founded in August 2014, SlamdunQ focuses primarily on using wearable technology to unleash sporting potential. Using Smartwatches and SmartBands available in the market, they develop applications for these wearables to improve their clients’ sporting potential.

Soot (Black Carbon) is a mass of impure carbon particles resulting from the incomplete combustion of hydrocarbons i.e. air pollution. It is produced by vehicles and industries alike. They have been on the mission of repurposing pollution's carbon capture to industrial grade raw material for printing industry (inks, pigments, paints etc.)

Google Launchpad program focusses on providing startups with the technology support, mentorship, invites to special events, online resources, expertise and community to launch and scale their product And we’re inviting you to help these startups achieve their vision.

This is your chance to support the ideas of these young entrepreneurs and help them achieve their vision and participate in the grand StartUp India StandUp India event. You can find more details about these startups and vote for them here.

Posted by Paul Ravindranath G, Program Manager, Google India

January 11, 2016

Learn from the best professors in India

At Google we are extremely happy to partner with the Ministry of HRD’s NPTEL project. Under NPTEL, some of the best professors in India are offering Free Online Courses that can be taken by any student. These courses are offered using Course Builder - an open-source online courses platform released by Google. We hope that with this initiative, any student anywhere will be able to access high-quality educational material and also earn a certificate after passing the exam.

Currently, there are 47 courses open for enrollment on the NPTEL Online Courses site, covering a variety of subjects like Computer Science, Civil Engineering, Social Sciences, Management, Mathematics and Basic Sciences. These courses are being offered by faculty from IIT Madras, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Bombay, Chennai Mathematical Institute and the Indian Council of Medical Research.

To see the courses and enroll for them, please visit: http://onlinecourses.nptel.ac.in

The online courses consist of video lectures, reading material, quizzes and assignments just like a regular university course. The courses are available in three different durations - 10-hour, 20-hour and 40-hour - based on the length of the lecture material. Online discussion forums are available with each course to answer students’ questions.

Here is a video from NPTEL to introduce the Online Courses program:
A student can take the free online course and later write a formal certification exam (after paying a nominal exam fee). If the student passes the certification exam, she/he will get a certificate from the institute whose faculty offered the online course.

The NPTEL online courses program has been active since January 2014 and over the last two years has offered more than 90 online courses totalling close to 400,000 enrollments.

Posted by Ashwani Sharma, Country Head, University Relations, Google

December 18, 2015

India’s second Translatathon needs you

Sometimes language isn’t straightforward. Only a Hindi speaker could tell you that ऊँट के मुँह में जीरा may literally mean  ‘cumin seed in a camel's mouth’, it’s actually used to be mean a drop in the ocean’.

There are 22 official languages in India. And while Google Translate can help you with nine of them at the moment, languages that are under-represented on the Internet like Bengali, Telugu, and Tamil could use a little help. This is where people who are passionate about their native languages like you can use the Translate Community tool to make a big difference.

We’ve just kicked off our second translatathon in India, this time for nine languages —  Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam and Punjabi. You can use Google Translate Community on your phone, laptop or computer. Just type, swipe or tap translations in the languages you speak. You have the option to either translate phrases directly, or validate existing translations.

Last year 20,000 people contributed over one million new Hindi translations, helping improve the overall quality of Hindi content online. We’re now including all the Indic languages that Google Translate is available in, and we look forward to seeing how people from across the country can help Google say जंगल में मोर नाचा किस ने देखा? or আপনার পায়ে কুড়ল মারা more accurately. Millions of people in India are coming online for the first time and most of them don’t speak English. Bringing more Indian language content online, and improving Indian language translation quality, will help them have a better experience on the Web.
Validate phrases with the Google Translate Community tool

Once you join the translatathon, you can Translate and Validate words and short phrases up until December 30th. We will then reward the 50 most active and accurate contributors with an Android One phone*.

So why not stop by and say नमस्ते, নমস্কার, வணக்கம் and help India showcase the beauty and diversity of languages online. Register and participate at g.co/translatathon and thanks in advance for your help. You’re making the web better for everyone.

*Terms and conditions apply: https://goo.gl/kEAehI

Posted by Barak Turovsky, Product Lead, Google Translate

December 16, 2015

Google for India: Past, Present, and Future

In the eleven years since Google Search first came to in India, we’ve done everything we can to make our products more useful and relevant for all Indians. Search in 2003 started in English but we quickly added Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi and Tamil. We’ve made Voice Search work in Hindi and even recognize Indian accents in English. When we couldn’t get enough data to build a comprehensive map of India for Google Maps, two Indian engineers built Google Map Maker to get the world’s help in crowdsourcing one.

Google India started with five employees in 2004 and since then has grown to be amongst the largest Google employee bases outside of U.S. with close to 1700 employees. And as smartphones have brought millions more online, Indians have become some of the most enthusiastic Google users. Using products like Gmail, Translate and Android, India is second only to the U.S. in total number of mobile Search queries.

But this is just the beginning. Today at our “Google for India” press event, we announced that we plan to ramp up our engineering presence in India, including a major expansion to our Hyderabad campus. Our goal is to bring all Indians online — regardless of income, region, age, gender, or language — and as they come online, we want to make the Internet more relevant and useful for their needs. There are three areas we’re focusing on to help do that.

First, we are working to improve Indians’ access to the Internet. Today we announced that Mumbai Central will be the first station to come online in our program with Indian Railways and Railtel to offer free RailWire Wifi inside railway stations. By the end of 2016, 100 more stations will be operational, connecting more than 10 million people who pass through every day. We are also expanding our program with Tata Trusts to connect women in rural India through a fleet of Internet bikes. We’ve hit 1,000 villages so far, and now we are adding resources with the hope of reaching 3,00,000 villages nationwide within three years.

Second, we are adapting our products to work better for Indians on 2G connections. “Lighter” Search results and web pages automatically load faster when you’re on limited bandwidth—helping not just users on slow connections but publishers who see a 50% increase in traffic. Our Data Saver mode on the Chrome mobile browser removes images when we detect you’re using a slow connection. We’re also making our products work when there’s no connection at all. Google Maps now allows real-time navigation and searches without a data connection. YouTube’s offline mode—launched first in India—helps people watch videos without Internet access, and a new feature rolling out next year that will improve buffering when videos are paused.

Third, we want to empower Indians to build great things for India, whether it’s an app, service, business or even a video. We’re launching a program to train two million new Android developers over the next three years by working closely with more than 30 universities across the country in partnership with the National Skill Development Corporation. This comes on top of a recent promise to give 1,000 of today’s best and brightest Indian startups $20,000 in credits to run their business on Google Cloud Platform. And the Chromebit, a small device that turns a monitor into a computer, will be available in India starting in January — a tool to boost computing in the education sector. We’re also teaching Indian content creators how to make even better videos at the YouTube Space Mumbai, which opened earlier this month.

Today’s announcements are just the latest steps in our journey to bring all Indians online and make the Internet more relevant and useful for their needs. There are still nearly a billion people in India who don’t have access to the Internet. So like we have from the first day we started providing Search in India, we will keep innovating and working hard to help people improve their lives through technology.

Posted by Caesar Sengupta, Vice President, Chrome and Android