Mumbai, December 5: Tech major Google India on Tuesday announced a slew of features to cater to the needs of users in India. During the third edition of Google For India event today in Delhi, Google launched Android Oreo (Go edition) that will be available for entry-level smartphones. Android Go is being released to OEMs as “Android Oreo (Go Edition).” Android Go has been announced as a special configuration of Android 8.1 Oreo for low-end devices.

India is a huge market for entry-level smartphones. The tech giant also rolled out bike mode for Maps, aimed at driving Internet adoption across markets. India is the world’s largest two-wheeler market and the navigation needs of these millions of riders are different from automobile drivers. Two-wheeler mode in Maps gives routes that use shortcuts not accessible to cars.

Google has also worked with Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio to bring a customised version of Google Assistant (virtual assistant) to the latter’s smart feature phones. Caesar Sengupta, Vice-President, Next Billion Users, said Google’s India-first suite of products and features are aimed to help more people discover how the Internet can make life easier and more convenient. The company announced the addition of new languages to the GBoard including Bagheli, Bagri, Marwari, Tulu, Haryanvi, Bhojpuri, and Mewari among others.

Earlier, the Google had partnered with Indian handset makers like Micromax and Spice to launch entry-level Android One smartphones.  But unlike Android One, Android Go is a software available for any handset with 1GB RAM or less. Reports by IANS say that there will also be a new set of lighter Google apps, including Google Go (for search) aimed at f first-time smartphone users. 

At present,  there are nearly 400 million Internet users in India, along with over 300 million smartphone users and about 650 million mobile phone users. “On average, a connected mobile Internet user in India today is consuming over 4GB of data per month. At the current growth rate and given the connectivity environment, we expect this number to reach 11GB per user per month in the next four years and Google is here to help connect all,” Rajan Anandan, Vice President, South East Asia and India at Google, said at the company’s third annual “Google for India” event.

“Oreo devices with 512MB to 1GB of RAM will get all the optimisations that come with Android Oreo (Go edition), including a better performing OS with built-in data management features and security benefits,” said Caesar Sengupta, Vice President, Next Billion Users Team at Google.  “Our partners’ phones running Android Oreo (Go edition) will hit shelves in early 2018,” he added.

“There are 230 million Indian language users online on Google today and 170 million of them are using our messaging service. Yet, we have over 900 million Indians who aren’t connected to Internet. Our mission is connectivity for every Indian. We’ll stay focused until every single Indian is connected,” Anandan said.