News and Notes from Google India
Book an Ola or Uber Straight through Google Search
October 19, 2016
Right now, when you search for directions using Google Maps on your iOS or Android device, we
show you a dedicated tab
with information for ride services from Ola and Uber in addition to car, transit, or walking. So when you’re heading out to any destination, be it going to work or meeting a friend for dinner, you can easily compare your options to find the fastest way there, without having to open multiple apps.
Today this gets even easier as you’re able to pull up the same menu of ride service options straight from the Google Search app or your mobile search browser. Just ask for directions to a place, and you’ll see a tab for ride services with fare estimates and pick up times if a car is available near you. Or you can say for instance “Taxi to Bangalore airport” or more specifically “Uber to Bangalore airport” or “Ola to Bangalore airport”. Select a service, and we’ll take you directly to their app to book your ride with one tap. If you don’t have the app installed, we will give you a link to an app store where you can install.
Posted by Sanket Gupta, Program Manager
Celebrating AMP: A year in review
October 12, 2016
Slow loading sites are arguably one of the most frustrating things about the mobile web.
Recent Google research
shows that 53% of people will leave a site that fails to load in three seconds or less. That’s problematic for users, businesses, publishers, websites and the mobile web as a whole.
Along with many others in the
Accelerated Mobile Pages Project
, we’ve been working to make the mobile web experience faster. In the year since we
AMP, we’ve come a pretty long way, with players from across the web embracing this open source format.
In February, we launched AMP in the
“Top Stories” section
of Google Search, delivering news in a fast and reliable way. In August, we
linking to AMPs across the entire mobile search results page. And today we’re excited to be rolling out that faster experience to users in India.
Now when you search on your mobile device, you’ll see a label that indicates a page is AMP’d. This doesn’t change Search results but will show you which sites have pages that are ready to load lightning fast.
Today, the median time it takes for an AMP page to load from Google Search is less than one second. Beyond just saving you time with fast loading pages, AMP will also save you data -- AMP pages on Search use 10 times less data than the equivalent non-AMP page.
What this means for publishers and websites
Just how is that speed translating for publishers and websites that have AMP’d their content? Among news publishers, the first to get on board with AMP, there are a number of
that highlight real benefits when content loads fast. For example, the
has seen a 23% increase in mobile search users who return within 7 days, and an 88% improvement in load time for AMP content versus traditional mobile web.
To date we have over 600 million AMP documents created by sites such as
, and there are many more sites from all over the world and in over 104 languages. These pages cover retail, travel, recipe, general knowledge and entertainment. That’s a lot of fast-loading pages! For example,
has seen great early results since AMPing their pages, with page load times decreasing from 3.8 seconds to well under a second. This is great news for Zomato, who are live with AMP in 23 countries, as they’re now more likely to see site visitors come back more often compared to those accessing non-AMP pages. A few other sites that have created AMP pages in India are
While the first year of the AMP Project has gotten off to a great start, there still remains a lot of work ahead.
is a good way to stay up to date on what is happening next. We look forward to returning in a year’s time with even more progress as we work together to make the web great for everyone.
To find out more about AMP, check out ampproject.org.
Anuvrat Rao, Strategic Partnerships Development Manager, Google
Accelerated Mobile Pages Project
Introducing Pixel, our new phone made by Google
October 4, 2016
Today, we announced for the first time a phone, made by Google inside and out, that brings people the best of Google through hardware and software made by Google — Pixel.
For those of you who have followed Google closely, that name may sound familiar to you because we've used the Pixel name in the past for consumer hardware products that represented an overall premium Google experience. Many of you may also be familiar with the Nexus program. Since 2010, we’ve partnered closely with mobile handset partners around the world to bring you the best of Android. Through Nexus, the goal was to work with these various partners to push the boundaries of what’s possible with a smartphone. We’ve now decided to take the next step and provide our take on the best Google experience, by bringing hardware and software design together under one roof.
Pixel, Phone by Google
With Pixel, we obsessed over every detail, from the industrial design to the user experience. We carefully sculpted the surfaces of the phone, and rounded the edges to make it easy to grip. We used 2.5D Corning
Glass 4 on the front display and back glass to
accent the aerospace grade aluminum body. The glass on the back also features Pixel Imprint, our fingerprint sensor, which is placed on the back of the phone where your finger expects it. You can even swipe it to access your notifications.
And no matter what you’re using your phone for, you’ll need a battery that lasts all day and charges fast — up to seven hours in 15 minutes.
Meet your Google Assistant
Pixel is the first phone with the Google Assistant built in. With your Assistant, you can have a natural conversation with Google to find answers or get things done on the go. Say "Ok Google" or touch and hold the Home button and your Assistant is ready to help. Ask it for a brief update on your day or to play a video on YouTube. Look up traffic on the way home from work or when the nearest pharmacy closes. You can even say “show me my hiking photos with Archana” and it'll instantly display the photos you're looking for. Your Assistant can also offer help with what’s on-screen in any app. So if your friend texts you to meet up at a new restaurant, you can just say “navigate there”.
The best smartphone camera. Ever.
The Pixel camera is not only the best smartphone camera we’ve ever made, it’s the
smartphone camera anyone has ever made. Our DxOMark Mobile
score of 89 is a great example of what’s possible when great hardware meets great software. Pixel puts cutting-edge computational photography in an ultra-fast and easy-to-use camera.
Pixel has a 12.3MP camera, featuring an f/2.0 aperture and big 1.55 micron pixels to capture lots and lots of light.
Our team of
photography gurus and image processing experts have spent the last year designing and tirelessly optimizing our entire camera stack.
Pixel’s camera lets you take stunning photos in low light, bright light or any light. Catch action shots as they happen with
, which takes a rapid-fire sequence of shots and automatically selects the best one. Use
to achieve shallow depth of field and bokeh effects, making your subject pop. You can capture dramatic landscapes or make faces glow with new exposure controls.
And as a special bonus for Pixel owners,
we’re including free unlimited storage for original quality photos and videos at full resolution in Google Photos.
More to love
Pixel ships with the newest Android operating system, Android 7.1 Nougat. Phones will get software and security updates as soon as they’re available, directly from Google. We’ve also made the update process easier. When a new update is available, it can download and install in the background — no more waiting around for your phone to update.
The Pixel also comes with Google Duo and Allo pre-installed so you can video call and text with all your friends, whether they’re on Android or iOS.
Make it yours
Starting at INR 57,000, Pixel will be available for pre-order in India from October 13th 2016. Pixel will be available in India in two sizes - 5” or 5.5” and two colors - Quite Black and Very Silver with memory configurations of 32GB and 128GB sizes.
Pixel users will have access to a toll free phone support number along with 54 walk in service centres across 30+ cities in India.
Posted by Brian Rakowski, VP, Product Management
Introducing Google Cloud & India Google Cloud Region
September 30, 2016
Indian businesses starting today are born in the cloud, while established enterprises are making the move quite rapidly. As digital transformation gains momentum in India, I am excited to share that we are deepening our local investment with the launch of Google Cloud and a Google Cloud Region in Mumbai in 2017.
in San Francisco, we
unveiled Google Cloud
, Google’s unique and broad portfolio of products, technologies and services that let our customers operate in a digital world easily and at peak performance. Further, we announced that to offer an even faster experience for Indian developers and enterprise customers, we are bringing a Cloud Region to Mumbai, India. Further, to meet growing demand, we announced the locations of seven new
Google Cloud Regions
- Singapore, Sydney, Northern Virginia, São Paulo, London, Finland and Frankfurt. Like Mumbai, each of these regions will come online through 2017.
Our investment in a local Cloud Region reaffirms our commitment to our customers in India. The local region will help make Google Cloud Platform services even faster for Indian developers and enterprise customers, enhancing differentiators that are already motivating companies to choose us as their partner.
As India’s startup community continues to grow, Cloud Platform provides the full stack of services to build, test and deploy their applications.
With more than one billion end users, we’ve gained significant traction in India and across the world. Globally, key customers already leveraging the benefits of Google Cloud Platform include SnapChat creator Snap Inc, Pokemon Go creator Niantic Labs and Evernote. In India too, we have seen great customer momentum with thousands of customers including major brands like Wipro, Ashok Leyland, Smartshift by Mahindra & Mahindra, Dainik Bhaskar Group and INshorts.com building on Google Cloud Platform.
At Horizon, we further announced G Suite. Previously called Google Apps for Work, G Suite encompasses a set of intelligent apps - Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Hangouts, and more - designed to bring people together, with real-time collaboration built in from the start.
In addition to our focus on Indian customers, we continue to build a robust partner ecosystem to support customers as they move to the cloud. We already have deep partnerships with a multitude of born-in-the-cloud partners including
Searce Co-Sourcing, Cloud Cover, PowerUp Cloud and MediaAgility as well as global partners like Wipro, TCS, Tech Mahindra and Cognizant.
The opening of the Cloud Region opens up newer opportunities for several new cloud partners who will benefit from building their services on Google Cloud.
Posted by Rick Harshman, Asia-Pacific Managing Director, Google Cloud
Google for India: Making our products work better for everyone
September 27, 2016
The growth of the Internet has been explosive in India.
, three more Indians come online for the first time — that’s over 10,000 people every hour. But this latest wave of Internet users still has significant barriers to getting the most out of the Internet: low-powered phones, 2G connections, and very little data.
So today at our second Google for India event, we announced several new Google products, platforms and access programs to deepen India’s participation in the Internet.
YouTube Go: A YouTube app built from the ground up for India
Today we are starting extensive user tests of
, a brand new mobile app completely reimagined for the next generation of YouTube users. Our product team spent the last year learning from users in India about their access and affordability challenges. So we designed the app to load and play YouTube videos smoothly across various connectivity situations, and to provide users transparency and control over their data consumption. The app also has a cool new feature that lets users share videos easily with friends and family nearby, without using any data.
YouTube Go will be India-only at first. If you want to an early chance to try it out, sign up at
to find out when the app is available.
Google Station: More Wi-Fi in more places
Last September, we
our partnership with Indian Railways and RailTel to provide Wi-Fi at 400 railway stations in India. Right now, more than 50 stations provide high-quality Internet to 3.5 million people each month. In our research together with IPSOS, we estimate that 15,000 Indians come online each day through these stations.
With these kinds of results, why not expand beyond railway stations, and even beyond India? By getting great Wi-Fi into the world’s malls, bus stops, city centers, and cafes all around the world, millions more people will be able to learn, play, chat, work, and find the information they need.
So today we’re announcing
, which gives partners an easy set of tools to roll-out Wi-Fi hotspots in public places. Google Station will provide software and guidance on hardware to turn fiber connections into fast, reliable and safe Wi-Fi zones. Users will get a fast Wi-Fi experience with a simple and unified login, while making it much easier for venues to manage their networks.
We’re just getting started and are looking for a few strategic, forward-thinking partners to work with on this effort. So if you are interested in learning more about how to work with us to bring high quality WiFi to your venues, please reach out on
Allo: The Assistant and Smart Replies in Hindi
One of the main features of our new messaging app
is a preview edition of the Google Assistant, a new way to have a conversation with Google. In the app, you can ask the Assistant questions and let it help you get things done directly right in your chats. This is currently available in English, but later in the year, we will also be rolling out the Assistant in Hindi. And as part of that, the “Smart Replies” feature — where Allo suggests responses to messages so you can respond quickly in English and Hinglish — will also be available in Hindi.
Chrome for mobile and Google Play: Better connectivity for our platforms
Our open, global platforms — like Android, Google Play, and Chrome — let people easily find the content and services they want and give creators and developers a way to share with the entire world. But how useful are these platforms if they stumble every time they meet a low-bandwidth connection? We are hoping to fix this with two updates to Chrome for mobile and Google Play.
For certain countries like India where connectivity is a challenge, Chrome now offers an expanded Data Saver mode, which millions are already using to reduce the amount of data the browser uses on Android mobile devices, computers, and Chromebooks. This new update will support MP4 videos, saving up to 67% of video data. Also, Chrome on Android will automatically optimize pages to their essentials when 2G-like networks are detected. These simplified pages load up to 2X faster, saving more than 90% of user data. On top of that, Chrome for Android adds a new Download feature that lets users save web pages, videos, music, and pictures on their phone. All downloaded contents can be easily accessed in Chrome's new Downloads tab, even when the users are offline. And if they go offline before downloading is complete, the process will automatically resume the next time they’re connected.
Downloads on Chrome for Android
On the Google Play side, Indian users on 2G connections will experience two new experimental features to improve the experience. The Google Play app will now pre-load the most popular parts of the store on Wi-Fi so that browsing is much faster even on a weak signal. And when choosing to install an app, Play will offer the option to “Wait for Wi-Fi” and install the app when the phone connects to Wi-Fi and save data.
Google News: Lite Mode
Starting this week, the Android app
Google News and Weather
adds a new feature called “Lite mode” for people on low-bandwidth connections that keeps the headlines and trims the rest of the components down to their essentials so that the app loads more quickly. This mode uses less than one-third the data. Slower networks with trigger Lite mode automatically.
Added up, that’s a lot of data saved, speeds accelerated and new connections made. But I want to share a lesson underlying those announcements that extends beyond India.
While most of today’s launches focus on Google users in India, we have learned that building for mobile-first countries ends up helping the world’s first-billion users as well. One example: India inspired us to make
— a way to download a map to your phone so you can navigate around town even without a data connection. But now people around the world, especially in the U.S. and Europe, are using offline maps to get seamless navigation in mountainous areas or patches in urban centers where connectivity cuts out. Building for India and other countries where the next billion Internet users are coming online not only improves their experiences, it gives us better ideas that work for everyone.
Posted by Caesar Sengupta, Vice-President, Next Billion Users Team
Say hello to Google Allo: a smarter messaging app
September 21, 2016
Whether it’s planning a night out or just catching up, we all rely on messaging to stay in touch with friends and loved ones. But too often we have to hit pause on our conversations — whether it’s to check the status of a flight or look up that new restaurant. So we created a messaging app that helps you keep your conversation going, by providing assistance when you need it.
Today, we’re releasing Google Allo, a new smart messaging app for Android and iOS that helps you say more and do more right in your chats. Google Allo can help you make plans, find information, and express yourself more easily in chat. And the more you use it, the more it improves over time.
Respond quickly with Smart Reply
Google Allo makes it easier for you to respond quickly and keep the conversation going, even when you’re on the go. With Smart Reply, you can respond to messages with just a tap, so you can send a quick “yup” in response to a friend asking “Are you on your way?” Smart Reply will also suggest responses for photos. If your friend sends you a photo of their pet, you might see Smart Reply suggestions like “aww cute!” And whether you’re a “haha” or “
” kind of person, Smart Reply will improve over time and adjust to your style. For our Indian users we have smart reply suggestions in Hinglish too.
Express yourself with photos, emojis and stickers
Chat is more than just text, so we’ve created a rich canvas for you to express yourself in Google Allo. You can make emojis and text larger or smaller in size by simply dragging the “send” button up or down. Make photos your own by scribbling on them before you send. And we’ve worked with independent artists and studios around the world to create more than 25 custom sticker packs, including over 200 plus stickers that users in India can relate to, because sometimes a “Party to Banti hai” or “Badhai ho” says it all.
Meet your personal Google Assistant
In Google Allo you’ll also be introduced to a preview edition of the
. With your Assistant in Allo, you can have a conversation with Google — ask it questions and let it help you get things done directly in your chats. You no longer need to leave a conversation with friends just to grab an address, share your favorite YouTube video, or pick a dinner spot. Just type @google to bring your Assistant into any group chat. And of course, you can also chat one-one-one with your Assistant in Allo.
Here are just a
few ways your Google Assistant can help in Google Allo:
Make plans with friends.
You can easily move from discussing dinner with friends to making plans for the night, right in your chat. Just add the Assistant to your group chat and ask for movie times, local restaurants and more. You can also research travel destinations, flights and hotels together with friends.
. Get the latest info on everything from news, weather, traffic, sports, or your upcoming flights status. Ask the Assistant to send you daily updates on the information you care about.
Have some fun.
Ask your Assistant to share that funny YouTube video or play games with friends right in your group chat -- for instance you can compete to guess a movie title based on a series of emojis.
The Google Assistant is the next chapter in a journey Google has been on for many years to assist people in their everyday lives. We’re starting with a preview edition to show you just one way that your Assistant will work for you in chat. Over the coming months, your Assistant will be available in more Google products, working seamlessly throughout your day at home or on the go. The Assistant will initially be available in English, with more languages coming soon.
Chat in Incognito mode
We take privacy and security seriously in Google Allo. All chats in Google Allo are encrypted using industry standard technologies like
Transport Layer Security
(TLS). But we went a step beyond this and we created a mode within Google Allo called
. When you chat in Incognito mode, messages have end-to-end encryption and additional privacy features like discreet notifications and message expiration.
You can also message friends who aren’t yet using Google Allo through
or, for those using Android,
app preview messages
We can’t wait for you to say hello to Google Allo! We’re beginning to roll out Google Allo for
, and the app will be available worldwide in the next few days.
Posted by Amit Fulay, Group Product Manager, Google
An extinct world brought back to life with Google Arts & Culture
September 13, 2016
Many millions of years ago, dinosaurs ruled the Earth and sea dragons were not just Hollywood creations, but fearsome predators that stalked the oceans. It’s a world that vanished long ago, but one that continues to fascinate those seeking to understand the origins of life on our planet.
To allow anyone, anywhere to explore this world, we’ve partnered with more than 50 of the leading natural history institutions and scientists, including the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya in India, to bring this lost world to life again online. From today, you’ll be able to browse through more than 150 interactive stories, 300,000 new photos and videos and more than 30 virtual tours on Google Arts & Culture, exploring the beautiful, the dangerous and the endangered.
With just a few clicks on
Google Arts & Culture
, you can come face to face with a 180 million year old giant, as virtual reality raises the colossal sea dragon from extinction.
Discovered in Dorset in the UK and residing at London’s Natural History Museum, the
— to give it its formal name — can now be explored in 360 degrees. We also used VR to bring the
back to life in Berlin’s natural history museum. Standing at 13 meters (42 feet), it’s one of the tallest dinosaurs that ever lived. It was twice as tall as today’s giraffes, and could easily put its head through a fourth floor window.
We worked with ecologists, paleontologists and biologists, to put virtual skin and flesh on the preserved skeletons. From the size of the eye to the position of the snout and the bend of the neck, the texture and creases of the skin were all painstakingly recreated, and verified by a team of scientists. For the best experience, use a viewer like Google Cardboard to look the beast in the eye.
In addition to the VR experiences, we’ve added plenty more artifacts and features for experts and armchair explorers alike:
Explore how the
has inspired Indian artists over the years and their exotic creations for their royal patrons in India including the “
”, a gun powder flask made of ivory carved in the shape of a leaping antelope escaping its hunters.
View the rare specimens of the
Great Indian Hornbill
and other rare and endangered fauna of the Indian Subcontinent
Turn back time by 4.6 billion years with the help of the Natural History Museum by
scrolling through the history
of life from the origins of the solar system, through the rise and the fall of prehistoric worlds.
he giant sloth jaw
that led Darwin to his groundbreaking theory of natural selection.
Explore the diversity of nature from the
and learn from birds about the
art of flirting
View 3,000 species on display in
one giant cabinet
or find out how our own predecessors may have
With Street View, walk around dinosaurs in New York, explore 30+ natural history museums from to
and even go underwater with turtles in
to discover the story of Martha, the last passenger pigeon.
The free collection opens today at
and through the
Google Arts & Culture mobile app on
And if you are a teacher, there are more than 20 new
waiting for you and your classroom to discover. We hope you enjoy this journey through the history of nature as much as we do.
Posted by Simon Rein, Program Manager, Google Cultural Institute
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