Google is launching an Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Lab in Bengaluru in order to create products not just for India but for the rest of the world, the Mountain View headquartered Internet giant said during its flagship Google for India event on Thursday. The Lab will be led by Manish Gupta, a SEM (Society for Experimental Mechanics) Fellow.
The slew of new initiatives in India also include a tie up with state run BSNL for expanding Wi-Fi hotspots in villages in Gujarat, Bihar and Maharashtra. This comes after the company launched a project to connect 500 railway stations in the country and has since claimed to have connected close to 5000 venues across four continents. Google also announced a phone line in partnership Vodafone Idea to get their queries answered with even a 2G phone in English and Hindi. The firm has also added an array of local Indian languages across its products such as Search, Bolo, Discover and Google Assistant among others.
“We want to adapt our products for Indians instead of asking Indians to adapt to Google Technology,” said Caesar Sengupta, Vice President, Next Billion Users and Payments, Google adding that when the company create products for India it creates for the world.
Ravi Shanker Prasad, union minister for electronics and IT said that during his meeting with Google chief Sundar Pichai in Mountain View last week, he said asked him to make India a launch pad for products. “I told him that what becomes successful in India will become successful globally. I am very happy that they are doing that,” added Prasad.
Google is also expanding its Google Pay payment app which already has 67 million users and has done transactions worth $110 billion so far to include a new app for Business. Google is also bringing its existing technology of tokenisation to India which will enable payments available to debit and credit card holders through a system of ‘tokenized’ cards– to pay for things using a digital token on the phone rather than actual card number
It can be used to pay for merchants which accept Bharat QR code and those that have NFC by just tapping the card. Google said that it will make payments much more secure apart from making online payment much more seamless by doing away with the need to enter card details. It will be rolled out over the next few weeks for Visa Cards in partnerships with banks such as HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, SBI Cards among others. The features will be rolled out with MasterCard and Rupay Cards in the coming months.
It is also launching a ‘Spot Platform’ which enables merchants to create exclusive shop fronts within the Google Pay app using simple Java script which will save them from building expensive websites or applications. Some applications such as like UrbanClap, Goibibo, MakeMyTrip, RedBus, Eat.Fit and Oven Story are also on board the Spot Platform. It will also extend to entrylevel neighborhood jobs search through the Spot platform on the Google Pay app. “This will mainly target the unorganised segment in areas such as retail and hospitality,” added Sengupta. Google is partnering with NSDC for this initiative along with firms such as Swiggy and is first being rolled out in Delhi-NCR before a nationwide rollout.