During the fifth edition of Google for India on Thursday, search giant Google announced a new Power Line service for making its virtual assistant accessible over phone. The service allows Vodafone-Idea customers to reach out to Google Assistant over a phone call. Google Assistant is a popular way to have a conversation with Google, fetch information and get things done.
To start with, Vodafone-Idea users can call on a toll free number - 000 800 9191000 - anytime in the day to enquire about things such as sports scores, traffic conditions and weather forecasts. One can even seek help in doing homework. Available in Hindi and English at the moment, the assistant will ask for certain details such as location to give more relevant results.
Google says that millions of Indians still use 2G feature phones today with limited to no access to the Internet. The launch of the Vodafone-Idea Phone Line with Google Assistant will make helpful information easily accessible to the users. This service is free of charge, and there is no time limit set for the call. Unlike Google Assistant app where a user has to say 'Ok Google' before asking a question, the conversation over the call will be seamless.
Google says during the pilot phase, thousands of users across Lucknow and Kanpur have tried the Phone Line and asked about things such as sports scores, weather forecasts, news and traffic conditions.
Google Assistant is currently available in nine Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Urdu, and Guajarati. Google says Hindi is now the second most used Assistant language globally after English. There have been 270 per cent growth in voice search year-on-year and five times increase in Assistant users. The Assistant is available in over 30 languages across 80 countries, works with 30,000+ unique connected devices for the home from more than 3,500 brands.
Talking about India's potential to contribute to advancements in AI and its application to tackle big challenges, Google has announced Google Research India, an AI lab in Bangalore. "It will focus on advancing fundamental computer science and AI research and applying research to tackle big problems in fields such as healthcare, agriculture, and education while also using it to make apps and services used by billions of people more helpful," says Caesar Sengupta, Vice-President, Next Billion Users Initiative and Payments.