Google unveils several ‘India-first’ products and features, including Assistant for JioPhone

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When Google first took the wraps off a very ambitious Android Go program for entry-level device optimization, no single country was named as a primary target. But earlier today, it became crystal clear the search giant’s rebranded Android Oreo (Go edition) initiative will focus first and foremost on India.

Low-cost, low to mid-end Android phones are still wildly popular in the world’s fastest-growing market, where millions of users badly need a squeaky-clean OS with lightweight pre-installed apps and quick access to essential online services.

Enter Google’s “partners’ phones running Android Oreo (Go edition)” in “early 2018”, as well as a “core” app called Google Go, available today in India and Indonesia as a preview on the local Play Store.

Along with data, speed and storage-optimized Go versions of YouTube, Maps, Gmail, Gboard, Google Assistant, Google Play and Chrome, Google Go will be pre-loaded on Android Go devices, providing a very simple web search experience and three “special” features.

The user interface is “tap-first” to make typing on a small phone less cumbersome than usual, with the app’s under 5MB size and various optimizations designed to save both storage and data consumption. Lastly, Google Go promises to make it easy to switch between languages like Hindi and English and get relevant answers to your bilingual web queries in seconds.

Speaking of, a “special” new version of the Google Assistant also supports both English and Hindi on the crazy popular, ultra-affordable JioPhone. That’s right, this smart assistant is launching today for a “dumb”, almost free handset, helping you make calls, text, play music and videos, navigate the internet, and access other apps and services using just your voice.

Files Go is also downloadable from Google Play as an “India-first” app, promising to free up space, find files faster for you and share files offline with people nearby. And don’t worry, everything Big G builds with the world’s second-largest smartphone market in mind is ultimately meant to make the entire industry a better place.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu

Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).