The 2018 edition of the Google for India event was held in New Delhi on Tuesday. The fourth edition for this India-exclusive event saw a number of announcements including new features and a rebranding for Google Tez, Project Navlekha, and new capabilities for Google Go. Apart from all this, the tech giant also announced some statistics and features for Google Maps. The popular navigational platform will get voice navigation for public transport alongside get-off alerts. The lighter version of the app, Google Maps Go, will receive turn-by-turn navigation and an all-new homescreen with shortcuts - Google said.
Google said that Google Maps celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and announced some important statistics. 50 million building identities were added to the platform in 2018 alone, it said. More than 20 million users are now using two-wheeler navigation in India, since its launch late last year. As for the recent flooding disaster in the state of Kerala, Google Maps is helping people find flood relief resources like shelters.
A partnership with RedBus will help Google Maps add more than 20,000 inter-city bus routes in 1,500 cities across the country. "Google Maps is also adding better public transport guidance, which will inform riders of upcoming stops and alerts on when to get off," said Gayathri Rajan, Vice-President, Geo, Google.
While announcing the upcoming Google Maps Go turn-by-turn navigation and all-new homescreen features, Google added that the new app will still weigh a tenth of Google Maps. To recall, Google last month had brought turn-by-turn navigation to Google Maps Go in the form of another app, Navigation for Google Maps Go. It serves as a companion app, and can be accessed via the Navigation button after users search for a route on Google Maps Go. It appears that Google has rethought its decision for a secondary app, with the move of integrating turn-by-turn navigation into the main Google Maps Go app.
To recall, Google on Tuesday announced that Google Tez will be rebranded to Google Pay in the next couple of weeks. Google aims to reach over 15,000 retail stores in India with Google Pay by Diwali 2018. The platform will also soon get pre-approved bank loans.
Apart from these announcements, Google announced a $1 million relief fund for the Kerala flood, a new publication tool under the Project Navlekha, new features for Google Assistant including support for the Marathi language, and bilingual support for Hindi and English on the Google feed.