Google today announced a series of new concerted initiatives with AI for India. These new initiatives are aimed at addressing the language divide on the Internet, supporting digitisation of farmland in partnership with the Telangana Government, and new collaborations and investments to drive responsible development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in India.
Google also announced a number of new features 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.
Next, Google announced a collaboration with the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru (Project Vaani), to capture diverse Indian dialects for building better AI language models for the country. This partnership is aimed at collecting and transcribing open source speech data from across all of India’s 773 districts, making it available through the Government of India’s Bhashini project in the future.
Google For India 2022: New Announcements
AI for better healthcare
Google’s new AI and Machine learning model can identify and highlight medicines within handwritten prescriptions. This will act as an assistive technology for digitizing handwritten medical documents by keeping the humans in the loop such as pharmacists. It confirmed that no decision will be made solely based on the output provided by this technology.
Google also announced an investment of US$1 million in grants to the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, to establish the first of its kind multidisciplinary center for Responsible AI in India. This center will foster collective effort — involving researchers, domain experts, developers, community members, policy makers and more – for the development of AI, and localizing it to the Indian context.
A better intuitive search experience in Indian languages
A new announcement Google made at the event is that it is making search results pages bilingual, for people who prefer it that way. Using advanced Machine Learning-based translation models and a cross-language search technology, Google will now serve relevant content in a local language alongside English results. This functionality has already started rolling out in Hindi, and will be expanding to other Indian languages, including Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and Bengali, in the coming year.
Improving speech recognition technology for Hinglish speakers
Google is also addressing India’s dynamic language needs when it comes to voice. The Company has launched a new speech recognition model that can more effectively understand people who speak in Hinglish. This uses a new, neural-network inspired speech recognition model that takes into account the individual’s accents, surrounding sounds, context, and speaking style.
Making it easier for people to search and explore information visually
Google is now introducing Multisearch, a major milestone in how people can search for information using images and text simultaneously. Multisearch is available in English in India, and will be coming to many Indian languages in the next year, starting with Hindi.
Making web even more accessible to Indians in their native language with AI
Google’s joint initiative with the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, will help create a vastly better understanding of India’s speech landscape. The data has been open sourced to help more startups, developers, students build language solutions for India and use this richly diverse speech data to create technology that reflects the way every Indian speaks their local language.
Google has also set a goal to build a single, unified model, capable of handling over 100 Indian languages across both speech and text. This will make way for a more inclusive experience for many more Indian language speakers, says Google.
Innovation towards Digital Agriculture in India with AI
Google is wanting to enhance agricultural activities using AI in India. It is making advanced AI and Machine Learning capabilities along with remote sensing technology, to develop a model that can help generate a holistic understanding of India’s agricultural landscape. This project will also enable the AgriStack and other solutions for India’s agricultural ecosystem, with a focus on identifying farm-level landscape and farm boundaries, and potentially identify crops grown in each field
This information will support building a publicly-accessible dataset for enabling digital public goods and services, while spurring innovation across the agriculture value chain. In partnership with the state of Telangana, this model will help facilitate agricultural solutions at a field level, and benefit the broader agricultural chain.
The company has also announced a new US$1 million grant via Google.Org to Wadhwani AI towards using advanced technology for better agricultural outcomes, supporting their work on crop disease monitoring and yield outcomes, while helping bring efficiencies to multiple Kisan Call Centers that enable farmers access crucial information on weather, crops, and more.
Help serve people with non-standard speech with AI
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 testing the app with English users in India, and will be expanding this pilot to Hindi users in early 2023. Through this project, Google’s endeavour is to make products that rely on speech recognition technology, like Google Assistant, more accessible to everyone.
Integration of DigiLocker in Files By Google app
Google 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. The documents stored in Files by Google will be in an isolated environment on the device, and can only be accessed using a unique lock screen authentication.
Improved fraud detection in Google Pay
Google Pay announced enhanced security features for users paying digitally, including multi-layered intelligent warnings to alert users if the fraud detection system detects suspicious activity.
YouTube Courses for India
At the event, YouTube also announced that it is currently testing a subscription-based model called Courses, with a few partners and creators. It is planning to launch the feature in the first half of 2023. YouTube hasn’t revealed any official launch month or date for Courses yet.
YouTube Courses is going to be a free or paid campaign, depending on the creators. For the paid content, Google will charge as per its standard rates. YouTube Courses will basically be an online medium to share learning materials in the form of videos. It will also feature PDF and other files for reference. YouTube Courses will first start in beta form in India, the U.S. and South Korea.