Alongside releasing optimised apps for low-budget devices, Google on Tuesday announced some India localisation tweaks for Google Assistant at its Google for India 2017 event in New Delhi. The new developments are mainly aimed to help Indian users easily connect to the Internet. Google also announced the debut of a special edition of Google Assistant on Jio Phone.
Google's Product Management Director Gummi Hafsteinsson showcased some of the recent upgrades that have made Google Assistant a better virtual assistant. "It is built on the revolution of a number of Google products like Search and Maps, and our experience with machine learning, speech recognition, and natural language processing," Hafsteinsson said.
Among the first upgrades that Google Assistant has received of late is the ability to have more natural conversations with Indian users. The virtual assistant last month received an update with Indian English support that will let developers build apps and Actions on Google specifically for the local audience in the country. Now, Google is enhancing the experience further by adding localised results on Google Assistant. Hafsteinsson showed an instance of the new effort by searching restaurants located in Chandni Chowk through the Assistant app. The app not just brought out relevant results but also highlighted timings of different restaurants. Similarly, the executive pointed out that there are now more contextual responses for Indian users.
In addition to typed queries and voice searches, Hafsteinsson showed the Google Lens visual search integration within Google Assistant that was debuted in India last month. This new integration offers you an experience that is "more than typing and talking". Hafsteinsson previewed the Google Lens integration by searching information on Google Assistant using an image of Humayun's Tomb. The app resulted out a Wikipedia description of the monument with one tap.
"Thanks to advances in computer vision and machine learning, we can now have conversations with Assistant beyond using words," said Hafsteinsson.
To enhance the amount of content on Google Assistant, Google is working with local partners such as news providers, including NDTV and Gadgets 360 among others. Additionally, there are Indian developer partners on board to make Google Assistant a strong competitor against Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa. You can use the Actions on Google feature to access Indian sites like BookMyShow, Myntra, HDFC, SBI, or Healthifyme - right by using your own voice. Hefsteinsson even demonstrated a BookMyShow trivia that asks questions from Bollywood to offer you a homely touch.
At the Google for India event, Google also announced its partnership with Reliance Jio to offer a special edition of Google Assistant on Jio Phone. This will enable voice searches on the feature phone in both Hindi and English languages.