India is not only one of the fastest-growing large economies in the world, it is also the third-largest smartphone market globally after China and the U.S. While that in itself is reason enough for companies like Google to be bullish on the country, recent reports actually indicted that India is well and truly Android country, with around 97% of all smartphones in the country running on Google’s mobile operating system. Add to that the fact that Google has been focusing diligently on the “next billion users”, and it becomes abundantly clear why India, with a population of almost 1.3 billion, ranks rather high on the American tech giant’s radar. That being the case, the company has now announced that the recently-announced Google Assistant will soon be available in the most widely-spoken language in the country – Hindi.
The Google Assistant, as mentioned already, is a new product that the Mountain View, California-based tech giant announced at the Google I/O last May. It is an intelligent personal assistant, much like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa. While the company already has its Google Now personal voice assistant, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles that the all-new AI-powered virtual assistant is expected to come with. The Google Assistant is currently integrated into the company’s new mobile messaging app, Google Allo, and is expected to be included in Google Home, the company’s own smart speakers, which are expected to take on the Amazon Echo.
A ‘preview’ version of the Google Assistant in Hindi will reportedly be launched this year itself, although, there’s no word on when the final version will hit the market. There’s also no word on whether the company is looking at bringing the new service to other widely-spoken South Asian languages, including Punjabi and Bangla, both of which have over 200 million native speakers each in the region and around the world. As part of its continued focus on India, Google had launched its Android One project in the country back in 2014, but that initiative, unfortunately, met with a lukewarm response from its manufacturing partners, as well as buyers. The company will be hoping that its new India-focused products and services will get a better response.