It its bid to connect the next one billion users, Google on Monday announced a slew of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered initiatives to address language divide on the Internet, supporting digitisation of farmland in partnership with the Telangana government, and new investments to drive responsible development of AI in the country.
The company announced a collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru (Project Vaani), to capture diverse Indian dialects for building better AI language models.
The move is aimed at collecting and transcribing open source speech data from across all of India’s 773 districts, making it available through the Centre’s ‘Bhashini’ project in the future, the company said during its annual flagship ‘Google For India’ event here.
“As partners in India’s digital transformation for nearly two decades, were deeply inspired by the myriad ways people have woven technology into every aspect of their everyday lives, placing India’s digital transformation at a tipping point,” said Sanjay Gupta, Country Head and Vice President, Google India.
Under the ‘Google for India Digitisation’ fund, “we continue to support the innovation ecosystem with a commitment to support early-stage and women-led start-ups,” Gupta told the audience.
The tech giant also announced new innovations across Search, focusing on bilingual users’ needs and new search capabilities using camera and voice; new fraud detection model for secure digital payments on Google Pay; and integration with Digilocker in the Files by Google app on Android to allow for easy access to key digital documents, privately and safely.
“We look forward to working closely with our ecosystem partners as we continue to responsibly deploy Google’s AI and Machine Learning innovations towards answering big societal needs,” said Manish Gupta, Director-Research, Google India.
Google has set a goal to build a single, unified model, capable of handling over 100 Indian languages across both speech and text, paving the way for a more inclusive experience for many more Indian language speakers.
The company is making visual search even more natural with the introduction of Multisearch. It is available in English in India and will come to many Indian languages in the next year, starting with Hindi.
“India is at the forefront of visual and voice search adoption, consuming content in different languages, and there is still tremendous opportunity to meet people’s information needs. With advances in AI, we’re making Search more helpful than ever by introducing new India-first and India-focused innovations,” said Liz Reid, Vice President, Google Search.
The company also announced a new $1 million grant via Google.Org to Wadhwani AI towards using advanced technology for better agricultural outcomes.
Google has been piloting ‘Project Relate’ — an app that is trained to unique speech patterns of people with non-standard speech.
The company has been piloting the app with English users in India, and will expand this to Hindi users in early 2023.
Google also announced a collaboration with the National eGovernance Division (NeGD) to enable people with easy access to their authentic digital documents, directly from the Files by Google app on Android.