Google on Wednesday started rolling out its social app called Neighbourly to more cities across India. The technology giant launched the Neighbourly app in the country in May this year. While the app was initially available only in Mumbai and Jaipur, it will now be rolling out to five more Indian cities, namely Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Kota, Mysore, and Vizag. The new app, developed to help people source local information from their neighbours, is a part of Google's Next Billion Users initiative. Google claims that the move to expand comes after "enthusiastic support from locals who joined the waitlist to bring Neighbourly to their city."
Technology majors like Google have lately been turning to large and fast-emerging markets such as India. Google has already launched several initiatives in the country, including Tez mobile payments app, Google Areo, Google Station, and YouTube Go. Now, the Neighbourly app will also be available in total of seven cities in India. Since its launch, Neighbourly has helped people in Mumbai and Jaipur find answers to all types of questions such as local shopping, fitness inquiries, food recommendations, or tuition centres, Google says.
To recall, the new Google Neighbourly app makes it easier for people in the same area to ask local questions and find reliable and relevant answers. In the Neighbourly app, when users ask a question, it's routed to relevant neighbourhood experts who can help. Using Google's voice recognition, you can speak your question or answer into the app. Notably, it works in English and eight other Indian languages. Also, you can share local expertise. The app also has safety features, meaning you can browse, ask, and answer questions without sharing personal information.
The company claimed that 20 percent of people tapped to speak their question and each question, either spoken or written, for an average of four "relevant and trusted" answers. Google says that the launch in new cities follows user testing done in the past several months. The company's Next Billion Users team conducted a series of studies and spoke to locals in neighbourhoods. It said that the response, especially among women, students, and daily commuters, was encouraging.
Josh Woodward, Group Product Manager on Google's Next Billion Users team, said, "We're seeing people in different age groups in Mumbai and Jaipur use the app in interesting ways to find answers to everyday questions in their neighbourhood. With Neighbourly, we are able to address the local information needs of India's fast-growing internet users in their neighbourhood. We're excited about the adoption and early engagement and are looking forward to providing a useful experience to people in five new cities across India."
As of now, a beta version of the Neighbourly app for Android can be accessed in Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Mysore, Vizag, and Kota as well. However, users located in other areas can join a waitlist pending expansion. If your smartphone is running Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or higher, you can download the app from Google Play.
Notably, the latest version of the Neighbourly app also includes three updates. Google has improved the voice input experience in the app with better controls so you can ask and respond to questions in your spoken language. Also, with a new Quick replies feature, when people ask a question, they can clarify something about an answer they received. Additionally, the updated app will be able to detect and group similar answers so it's easier to find them.