At its second India event Google on Tuesday announced a slew of products to deepen India’s participation in the Internet.
These include a mobile app YouTube Go, public WiFi platform Google Station, two new updates to Chrome for mobile and Google Play, and “Lite mode” a new feature in Android app Google News and Weather for people on low-bandwidth connections
YouTube Go will be India-only at first and is designed to load and play YouTube videos smoothly across various connectivity situations. The app also has a new feature that lets users share videos easily with friends and family nearby, without using any data.
Last September, Google partnered 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. According to Google’s research together with IPSOS, an estimated 15,000 Indians come online each day through these stations.
“Hence Google Station will give partners an easy set of tools to roll-out Wi-Fi hotspots in public places,” posted Caesar Sengupta, VP, Next Billion Users Team in a blog post.
Google Assistant in its newly launched messaging app Allo is currently available in English, but will be available in Hindi later in the year.
The Company is also making two updates to Chrome for mobile and Google Play. With the connectivity problem in the country 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. Also, Chrome on Android will automatically optimize pages to their essentials when 2G-like networks are detected.
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.
On the Google Play side, Indian users on 2G connections will experience two new experimental features to improve the experience.
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.