Understanding the importance of regional languages in India, search giant Google has announced a new program that will empower offline newspapers and magazines in India to bring their content online. Announced during the fourth edition of 'Google for India' event, the Project Navlekha claims to bring offline content online in just a few clicks.
Google's Shashidhar Thakur, Vice President, Search Engineering, says, "50 per cent more Indians are using mobile search daily. But most of the documents available on the web today are in English and a very few in Indian languages. For search to be truly helpful, it should bring you useful content, in all the languages you understand."
She informed that 90 per cent of the 150 per cent government-registered magazines and newspapers in India don't have their website. Setting up one today is an equally challenging task as it involves buying a domain, hosting and maintaining a webpage and more. To top them all, it's extremely difficult to copy text in non-Unicode Indian language fonts from PDF to web pages without a special scanner. Google is addressing this issue with the launch of Project Navlekha, which in Sanskrit means "a new way to write". Project Navlekha does not require any technical know-how of web publishing and can be used by anyone. During the demo, Google engineers were able to publish a regional language article in less than 60 seconds.
Google is using its expertise in artificial intelligence for Project Navlekha, using which, it will quickly render any PDF with Indian language content into editable text, overcoming issues that usually occur when you try to copy text in Indian languages from a PDF.
Google is starting Navlekha to support publishers in India, and help bring more Indian languages content online. Easy to use, Navlekha has already started on-boarding publishers from Delhi, and Google aims to bring many more publishers from other regions in September this year. Registered Indian language publishers who are working on their online presence can sign up for the program at g.co/navlekha.
The registered publishers on Navlekha will also be provided with free web hosting, along with a branded domain for three years. They'll also have AdSense support to begin monetising their content.
To be available initially in Hindi language, Google will not charge the publication for the publication tools and the domain name for the first three years.