Category Archives: Google India Blog

The Official Google Blog for India

Introducing the first ever Class of 2019 for YouTube NextUp for Artists, Mumbai!

This June, we announced that YouTube NextUp is back in India for its 4th edition, with special editions to celebrate the diversity of talent on the platform. 


For the NextUp for Artists edition, we received an overwhelming response from the length and breadth of the country, across varied forms of music and in diverse languages. Be it hip-hop or rap, electronic music or folk, classical or pop -- the quality of music that India’s young artists are creating is truly inspiring. 


We are extremely excited for them to find a global audience on YouTube, find success and make their voice heard. All our NextUp for Artist winners will join us at our first NextUp class for this year; scheduled to take place at our Pop-Up Space in Mumbai, this August. 


Over the course of five days, the winners will attend workshops to enhance their production skills, camera work, lighting, sound, audio and more! That’s not all, they will be mentored by industry veterans, leading music label and marketing executives on songwriting, digital marketing and building and managing their brand. Each winner will also receive a production voucher worth INR 1,40,000.


***Drum Roll***


Meet the YouTube NextUp for Artists 2019 Winners (in no particular order) and take a sneak-peek into their musical journey:


Prabh Deep -- A hip/hop rap artist, who started out as a breakdancer before finding his musical voice;  Prabh Deep recently dropped his album ‘K I N G’ on YouTube.
Arjit Agarwal -- Based in Lucknow, Arjit draws inspiration from A.R Rahman, adding a unique indo-western element to his compositions. Fun fact...he can also play the cajon! 
Cover TV --  Covers, Compositions and Competitions has Varsha owning the music space. You may recognize her from Indian Idol 6, X Factor and The Voice India! 
Tom Murmu -- A band set out to represent Jharkhand’s cultural heritage through music by fusing  regional Santhali sounds with modern contemporary music.
Prithvi Raj --  Singer, Songwriter, Sound Engineer and Karaoke Jockey, Prithvi is ready to add YouTube Success to his list of accomplishments! 
Taalpatar Shepai -- This Kolkata duo is known for their unique music videos that convey social/political messages through song.
Vani Rao -- A brother/sister team who have spoiled us for choice, with an abundance of musical content , including Bollywood, Western, Classical, Medleys and Mashups!
LostStoriesMusic - These DJs have set out to familiarize India with the international sounds of Trance, by fusing it with Indian melodies.
Akanksha Bhandari - A Bollywood playback singer, whose career started on YouTube itself. You might recognize her voice from the albums of Fukrey Returns and Namaste England! 
Bharatt-Saurabh -- An Economics post graduate and a Computer Engineer form this dynamic duo that covers everything from singing, composing, producing and writing their original music. 


And that is not all! For our first Artists edition, Winners will get an opportunity to perform at India’s largest music industry conference, All About Music. As part of this association with AAM, our artists will also be receiving mentorship from industry specialists and an opportunity to pitch their  original songs to movie producers, music directors and music labels, focusing on Independent music.


Congratulations to the YouTube NextUp for Artists Class of 2019! We can’t wait to see the magic you create in Mumbai, and on YouTube!


Up next, Winner announcements for NextUp Women to Watch and NextUp for Gamers. Stay tuned!

Posted by Marc Lefkowitz, Head of YouTube Creator and Artist Development, APAC

Inviting applications for Class 3 of Launchpad Accelerator India




We welcomed 10 change-makers to the second class of Launchpad Accelerator India, in March this year. In keeping with the ‘Solve for India’ theme of the accelerator, these 10 startups focused on building scalable solutions for some of India’s toughest problems in the areas of healthcare, fintech, sustainability, among others, using AI/ML. With the second class close to graduating, we are now inviting applications for Class 3 from startups working in similar areas.


A look back at Class 2: 





With Class 2, we took the mentee startups - spanning verticals across fintech, healthcare, sustainability and more - through intensive mentorship bootcamps delivered by Google & industry experts, spanning across the areas of technology, product strategy, marketing, UX/UI and leadership. 


The program is designed to address the specific needs of the startups in each batch. Startups that needed help with their machine learning algorithms were taken through a machine learning bootcamp while, startups that needed to overhaul their customer onboarding journeys or improve their customer retention went through design sprints.


In addition to technical mentoring, founders were also coached on key aspects of leadership such as empathy, in a Google-created ‘Leaders Lab’, specially conceived to make leaders aware of the blindspots in their management styles.


Hearing from the founders and mentors:


“We have been trying to streamline our ML engines, but finding ML experts can be tough. Through the Launchpad program, we have been connected to ML experts across the globe who have worked on similar problems and have given us interesting ideas which we are currently implementing” 


- SmartCoin, 


“Our assumption was that decreasing the dropout rate of customers might be most important. Although it is important, we realized before dropout, getting more customers to onboard was more important. Hence we understood that we need to work on content marketing and go through a design sprint too. The design sprint helped to reduce the customer onboarding time by 50%” 


- FinancePeer


With due credit to its name, Launchpad truly boosts, accelerates, course corrects and motivates startups to succeed at scale by bringing the finest of Google and industry specialists from a variety of backgrounds to support these startups' vision.” 


- Vivian Gomes, Director of User Experience at HFR&D, Mentor, Google Launchpad Accelerator


Class 2 of Launchpad Accelerator India


Apply Now for Class 3 of Google Launchpad Accelerator :


While these 10 startups continue their journey to scale their solutions to meaningfully address some
of India’s toughest problems , we are excited to invite applications for the next class. 


If you are a startup that uses technology like AI/ML to solve systemic problems in India, submit your application now under “Launchpad Accelerator India” at this link, by August 18, 2019. The batch will kick off with a 1 week bootcamp in mid-October, in Bangalore.


Before you apply, do check if your startup meets the following criteria to be eligible for the program


1/ Be a technology startup
2/ Be based in India
3/ Have preferably at least raised seed funding
4/ Address a challenge that is specific to India
5/ Use advanced technology like AI/ML to power the solution


Each class will receive mentorship and support from the best of Google in AI/ML, Cloud, UX, Android, Web, Product Strategy and Marketing. Startups will also receive Google Cloud Credits from $20K, going up to $100K each.

We look forward to hearing from you and growing India's startup ecosystem, together.


Posted By Paul Ravindranath, Program Manager, Launchpad Accelerator India


Inviting applications for Class 3 of Launchpad Accelerator India




We welcomed 10 change-makers to the second class of Launchpad Accelerator India, in March this year. In keeping with the ‘Solve for India’ theme of the accelerator, these 10 startups focused on building scalable solutions for some of India’s toughest problems in the areas of healthcare, fintech, sustainability, among others, using AI/ML. With the second class close to graduating, we are now inviting applications for Class 3 from startups working in similar areas.


A look back at Class 2: 





With Class 2, we took the mentee startups - spanning verticals across fintech, healthcare, sustainability and more - through intensive mentorship bootcamps delivered by Google & industry experts, spanning across the areas of technology, product strategy, marketing, UX/UI and leadership. 


The program is designed to address the specific needs of the startups in each batch. Startups that needed help with their machine learning algorithms were taken through a machine learning bootcamp while, startups that needed to overhaul their customer onboarding journeys or improve their customer retention went through design sprints.


In addition to technical mentoring, founders were also coached on key aspects of leadership such as empathy, in a Google-created ‘Leaders Lab’, specially conceived to make leaders aware of the blindspots in their management styles.


Hearing from the founders and mentors:


“We have been trying to streamline our ML engines, but finding ML experts can be tough. Through the Launchpad program, we have been connected to ML experts across the globe who have worked on similar problems and have given us interesting ideas which we are currently implementing” 


- SmartCoin, 


“Our assumption was that decreasing the dropout rate of customers might be most important. Although it is important, we realized before dropout, getting more customers to onboard was more important. Hence we understood that we need to work on content marketing and go through a design sprint too. The design sprint helped to reduce the customer onboarding time by 50%” 


- FinancePeer


With due credit to its name, Launchpad truly boosts, accelerates, course corrects and motivates startups to succeed at scale by bringing the finest of Google and industry specialists from a variety of backgrounds to support these startups' vision.” 


- Vivian Gomes, Director of User Experience at HFR&D, Mentor, Google Launchpad Accelerator


Class 2 of Launchpad Accelerator India


Apply Now for Class 3 of Google Launchpad Accelerator :


While these 10 startups continue their journey to scale their solutions to meaningfully address some
of India’s toughest problems , we are excited to invite applications for the next class. 


If you are a startup that uses technology like AI/ML to solve systemic problems in India, submit your application now under “Launchpad Accelerator India” at this link, by August 18, 2019. The batch will kick off with a 1 week bootcamp in mid-October, in Bangalore.


Before you apply, do check if your startup meets the following criteria to be eligible for the program


1/ Be a technology startup
2/ Be based in India
3/ Have preferably at least raised seed funding
4/ Address a challenge that is specific to India
5/ Use advanced technology like AI/ML to power the solution


Each class will receive mentorship and support from the best of Google in AI/ML, Cloud, UX, Android, Web, Product Strategy and Marketing. Startups will also receive Google Cloud Credits from $20K, going up to $100K each.

We look forward to hearing from you and growing India's startup ecosystem, together.


Posted By Paul Ravindranath, Program Manager, Launchpad Accelerator India


Identify Content Gaps Online with Question Hub

https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/4_Ja86GgwMEXmnLeCp9Dfmd4_mnU43N8Q1HsdmJL3dzIro15l0x3pyP5segRHi1FkYsHBDOyzNFW6ZX5864m8PaOEfNXNMvRZOGD4gN6NSwYGG4PFDJZ6gdU2AeuvBOLasJS6oxZ
Google Search organizes information to find the most relevant, useful results for each person’s search queries. But what if the content just isn’t there? That’s why we created Question Hub. 


With Question Hub, users can let us know when they haven’t been able to find the content they are searching for. We collect all these unanswered questions, for example “How many revolutions does Chandrayaan 2 make around the Earth”,  and sort them by topic (“Science”). We provide those questions to publishers, so they can use these insights to create richer, better content for their audience. This benefits the publishers who can identify content gaps online, and everyone searching for content on the web.


After several months of testing with journalists and bloggers, we are launching a beta version today so we can continue to grow the product in collaboration with a broader group of publishers. Question Hub is now available in India, Indonesia, and Nigeria, in English, Hindi and Bahasa Indonesia, and we plan to introduce it in other countries and languages in the future. There are many questions lined up waiting for answers, from debunking myths such as “Do mermaid tears really turn into pearls” to everyday useful information like “vegan south indian recipe with no eggplant”. Because Question Hub is just coming out of an experimental phase, we’re still working hard to improve the experience and add additional features. We would love your feedback to  help us grow the product further. 


To access Question Hub, publishers need to link their account to verified properties in Search Console. For publishers without a Search Console account, other options are available. Once they’ve created an account, they can  explore topics relevant to their work by either searching for keywords or browsing categories (e.g. Beauty & Fitness). Once a topic is added, they can view unanswered questions asked by real people. 


Publishers can then use their editorial judgment to review unanswered questions, and expand on them when creating content. For instance, an unanswered question (“mehndi designs for my sister’s wedding in two weeks 2019”) may illustrate a larger need for content on a certain topic (trendy mehndi designs). Publishers can leverage these questions to create more impactful content for their audience. Once they create an article or video, publishers are then able to submit it in Question Hub, where they review content performance metrics.




Are you a publisher? Try Question Hub out, or learn more about how to get started in our FAQ. Click Send Feedback within Question Hub with any comments or issues; we’d love to hear from you.

Posted by Shekhar Sharad, Senior Product Manager, Search and Content Ecosystem

100 million people free up phone space with the Files app

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1hPgoww2FulWnMi8fki9ynZR2tQPv2i98/view




Every month, 100 million people around the world use the Files app to free up space and manage the
content on their phones. Files was built for people with low phone storage, many of whom live in
places like India, Nigeria and Brazil and often run out of space on a daily basis. However, in the past
two years, we’ve seen people everywhere use Files. The app reduces the stress of managing stuff on
your phone and helps you get things done faster—whether that means finding your favorite photo,
sharing files without using data, or removing old files to make your phone feel like new.


Globally, Files frees up 8 GB of space every second—that’s equivalent to 2,200 photos! 






Forwarded messages can cause duplicate files and memes to quickly eat up phone storage. Around
the world, Files helps people delete more than 300 duplicates and 150 memes every second—the
app is able to quickly find and suggest files for removal using Google’s mobile vision technology


Here are two new features that make Files even more helpful:

- Preserve your battery and reduce eye strain with a new all-black dark theme option. 


Switch to dark theme to preserve battery life and reduce eye strain



- Listen to music or watch videos offline with new controls like Skip, Rewind or Fast-forward.

New audio player features give you more control.



These features will be available to everyone over the next few days. Get the app at g.co/getfiles to
free up space, and make your phone feel like new.


Posted by Tomas Vorel, Growth Manager, Next Billion Users







Doodle for Google is back!

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/HozTB1ZB--zpH1NZisXNG_A1NweLikSZyQxsE-26mebUIO-sylVyJ2qohQQQqNjtQrJPh7OxxFp58XTQJNafehu6ROx2xgZqEck5ofdVCsYA-Zc1MksoZ_A1UFpSqbsCPeJ3GPxd

This time encouraging young artists to draw “When I grow up, I hope ….”


I have the privilege of being a mother of seven year old twins, and it’s always amazing to see the imaginative things they come up with. I’ve come to realize that they each have such distinct dreams and hopes for themselves and for the world; my daughter hopes that everyone in the world should have a roof over their head and enough food to eat,  while my son hopes that he can travel the world and thinks about how the world markets and population will change over the next 50 years (yes, he is seven!) What a lovely thing it is, to be able to get a glimpse of the future from a child’s perspective, which brings me to hope that they never stop dreaming about what the world can be.  


On that note, I am excited to announce the 2019 edition of  Doodle for Google contest where students across India will get a chance to showcase their creativity in the form of a doodle on www.google.co.in for a day on Children’s Day i.e. 14th November 2019. 


This year’s theme is “When I grow up, I hope….” tapping into the aspirations and imagination of young India. Anything kids dream about is fair-play - from edible clouds, to a pollution-free world, to a city haven full of endangered animals, and a life on the moon. Crayons, water colours, clay or graphic design; young artists can utilise any materials to bring their creation to life but like all Google Doodles, each doodle must incorporate the letters G-o-o-g-l-e.




Last year, we received thousands of entries from all across India -- including big metros and smaller cities, covering the length and breadth of the country. If you are inspired to participate this year, download the form, let your imagination flow, draw your doodle and press the ‘submit’ button! Please visit ‘How it works’ page on the website for detailed instructions about participation. 


Every year, the toughest part of the contest is to pick a winner and therefore we have a stellar jury of guest judges including renowned illustrator Neha Sharma, fondly known as Neha Doodles, Prajakta Koli AKA MostlySane who is one of India’s most popular YouTube Creators, and Rajiv Chikala the creator and CEO of Green Gold Animation who is also the conspirator of the famous animated character Chhota Bheem. 


Internal judging and jury votes will be used to identify the top 20 doodles, which will be put up for public voting from October 21st to November 6th 2019, where the entire public will be able to vote for their favourite doodle. Winning doodle will be awarded a college scholarship worth five lakh rupees, a technology package worth two lakh for their school or non-profit organization, along with many other exciting prizes.


Submissions for this year close on 30th September 2019 at 10 PM IST. That’s only eight short weeks so hurry! Students between class 1 to 10 are welcome to submit their entries at doodles.google.co.in/d4g. For parents, teachers and all of you who know a young doodler, do encourage them to participate! We can’t wait to see all the wonderful entries and learn more about the aspirations of India’s future.

By Sapna Chadha, Director of Marketing, Southeast Asia & India

What’s under the hood: Security on Google Pay

https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/kqimQE52YHUk85s4_gch87PrS7s5lO0NDSP3WkTLWJh3eJCMSeuEskErQ-sj2UmtRsIoO4gehtH99tYnR1V4f9duF3FRuNEQQ0GLAABwWbLTUOFvi17V0grH__j2cCX5bzJUi-7j
In the last two years, instant bank-to-bank transfers via UPI have become the preferred form of payment for millions of Indians, many adopting digital payments for the first time. At Google Pay, we’ve been very excited to be part of this story, and bringing the convenience of UPI to millions of users, in a simple and secure user experience. 


We launched Google Pay with the best of Google’s security infrastructure, leveraging our experience of 20 years of bringing some of the world’s most helpful technology products to billions of users worldwide. Some of these are: 

  • Enhanced fraud protections with SafetyNet: Beyond the ‘one device - one account’ safeguards offered by UPI, Google Pay is secured with Google Pay advanced fraud models and backed by Google’s authentication platform, ensuring world class protections against fraud attacks and faster identification and suspension of fraudsters.
  • Secure access: The PIN entry screens in Google Pay have been secured against remote desktop attacks since the early days of app’s launch, keeping our users safe, even when widespread scams have affected other digital payments users.
  • Blocking fraudsters from getting on to Google Pay: Our exhaustive risk relations check at the onboarding stage prevents known bad actors from recreating their accounts on the app.
  • Scam protections: Since its launch, Google Pay uses machine learning-based scam prevention models, and also displays explicit ‘scam’ or ‘stranger’ warnings if a user receives a request from someone suspicious or not in their contacts.
             

    • Explicit language and prominent warnings during collect requests: Collect requests as a flow are unique to UPI and thus might be new to several users. For this reason, Google Pay displays very clear and prominent warnings to the user about what it entails at each step.

      Additionally, to help our users fully understand each step on the app, we have now launched notifications and SMS alerts to clarify the direction of flow of money: Google Pay will now send app notifications as well as SMS to inform users each time they receive a collect request to highlight that approving the request will deduct money from the users’ bank accounts. 

      We are mindful that at Google Pay, users are entrusting us with their most sensitive asset - their money. We are conscious of the responsibility that comes with this trust. The above security features, and a lot more ongoing work in this direction, are a small example of how we keep our users safe. 

      As we make this journey together, there are steps that our users can also take to keep their money secure. Just as we learnt to handle cash carefully, the world of digital payments requires care and mindfulness as well, to ensure we keep our money safe. Some of these are:
      • Just as you keep your ATM card PIN private, your UPI PIN needs to be safeguarded in the same way. This code is only for your use, to securely access your UPI-linked bank account, via Google Pay. The same applies to your phone PIN.
      • Google Pay customer care representatives will never ask for your PIN or ask you to authorise a money transfer, while troubleshooting. If anyone contacts you with such a request, always decline.
      • UPI places incredible power in the hands of the user and money can only leave your account if you authorise it. Only approve transfer requests from people you trust, or for transactions that you have initiated. If you don’t remember initiating a transaction, decline.
      • Please pay attention to ‘scam’ and ‘stranger’ warnings that appear on Google Pay, in case an unknown contact requests for a money transfer. Read these signals carefully and only transact with people you trust. 
      • Be alert to the direction of the money flow. Receiving money never requires your UPI PIN, only sending money does. If you need to enter your UPI PIN, you are authorising a payment.
      • If you ever need any kind of support or help, our 24/7 support is available to help, who you can contact safely from within the app. Do not call unverified numbers present on the web. 
        These simple tips, along with Google Pay’s security infrastructure, can ensure that your experience on digital payments stays seamless, and you can leverage its many conveniences to the fullest. This journey is an ongoing one as we continue to learn and evolve the product, and look forward to your feedback to make Google Pay even more helpful in your daily life. 

        Posted by Ambarish Kenghe, Director, Product Management, Google Pay

        26 million women in rural India are dreaming big, breaking barriers, helping communities and improving livelihoods

        Even as India has taken the lead to become the fastest growing Internet user market in the world, with a 31% growth in rural India, 75% of the rural population still don't have access to the Internet and 40% claim to be unaware of the benefits of the internet*. It is therefore important to equip rural India with a greater understanding of the Internet, and empower them with the right skills to find information on the web that can help improve their lives. 


        A recent meeting with two of our Saathis Rama Devi and Asiya Gawandi, really brought home the profound impact of our Internet Saathi program on women in rural India. 


        Rama Devi who comes from a very humble background is transforming farming practices in Vempalle, a small village in Andhra Pradesh where for generations farmers have been using chemical fertilizers. She used voice search to learn more about “how to make organic manure”, “benefits and cost effective ways of organic farming over chemical fertilizers” on the internet. She learnt that organic sources like animal waste, vegetable compost, agricultural residues, human excreta, etc. can help reduce expenditure, and grow yield. She has now trained 120 farmers and over 1200 women beneficiaries on how to make organic manure. 


        On the other hand, Asiya Gawandi, from a small village Maujgarhjia in Maharashtra has trained 1500 women in her village who are using the internet in their everyday life now. Many of these women have gone ahead and started their small businesses. Collectively, these women have started a local market -- "Apna Bazaar" where they these enterprising women come forward to sell food items, handicraft, beauty products like sugandhi ubtan, and the list goes on. They continue to enhance their skills and learn new techniques using the Internet. 


        Today we have over 70,000 incredible women across 260K villages in 18 states, who are using the power of the Internet to drive positive change in their communities and have already benefited over 26 million women. To further our efforts, we are happy to announce the expansion of the program to two new states -- Punjab and Odisha. In Punjab, the program will cover around ~5,000 villages, starting from Paras Rampur, Kotli Than Singh, Burj, Vehra, from Hoshiarpur and Kapurthala districts. In Odisha the program has kicked off from Sindhia in Baleshwar, Parakana in Puri, Bhuinpur in Kendrapara, and we will cover ~16,000+ villages. 


        It is encouraging to see that the female to male internet literacy ratio is now at 4:10 [Source: Kantar ICUBE Study 2018] but there is still a lot more that needs to be done to make the internet gender equitable. We believe that a gender-equitable Internet is good for everyone, and when a diverse group uses the Internet, the online world becomes relevant and useful to more people. 




        Internet Saathi program has shown us that with the right opportunities, there is no limit to what women can achieve. It is remarkable to see the passion of women like Rama Devi, and several others of them in rural India, learning about the Internet, not just for their own needs but for their families, kids and their communities.

        In a recent study with Kantar, we interviewed over 2500 people across rural India to understand the impact that providing access has on their livelihood.

        What we learnt -- 
        Over time, women start to become more confident, becoming a key source of information for her village, and also help empower the next generation:

        / About 70% of Saathis believe they are seen as a source of information in their village -- people are coming to them consistently for answers to help children with schoolwork, to learn  new cooking recipes, search for jobs, or to run a business. 
        / 8 in 10 Saathis and their beneficiaries believe people in their village respect them more. 
        / 9 in 10 women beneficiaries believe in a woman’s right to express herself, and earn a living for her family.
        / That’s not all, 7 in 10 women who attended the trainings with the Saathis have seen an improvement in their children’s education.


        Increased confidence leads to a level of independence that creates financial opportunities for women to pursue their dreams: 

        / 3 in 10 Saathis and 2 in 10 beneficiaries have set up some form of business. This, in turn, has provided economic growth, with the business often earning between Rs. 3000 and Rs. 5000 every month.
        / 5 in 10 Saathis have seen positive impact on employability.


        Many of our Saathis or those who have been trained by them, have either started a business -- be it stitching or honeybee, and parlour, or helping their family improve their financial standing or driving positive change for their community. They have truly become role models for millions of other women. 


        It’s encouraging to see real stories of impact that are reshaping the digital narrative for rural India. We are grateful to Tata Trusts, our onground NGO partners, local activists and several Google volunteers who have contributed to the success of this program, and without whom the journey would have been incomplete. 


        By Sapna Chadha, Director of Marketing, Southeast Asia & India, Google 

        *Source: Kantar ICUBE Report 2018

        Explore your world with these new Google Maps features

        https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/RZK2IimfzK2Pl_ApOPsfwa2ROyDLcm1gl_DU2oY9Psr2SA3a-k6k5BKo2-KHgInO_15EH8WyuGKcSAJzHLJPgEiRqgVBLtis05RrWWiYg23yMIwqvXriIgzB96bSOOwALCp8MuGZ
        From showing you the quickest morning commutes, to helping you stay safe on your ride home at the end of the day, Google Maps has a long history of building India-first features to keep Indians on the move, safely.


        But we want to help with more than just getting from A to B. Starting today, we are happy to announce three new features in Google Maps available to Indian users on their phones: a redesigned, India-inspired Explore tab, a new For You experience, and dining Offers that help you find places you’re likely to enjoy with deals to make the experience even sweeter. Whether it's finding things to do in an area or getting offers on dining out, or recommending places and experiences, we hope Google Maps can now help you discover a new side to your city. 




        Explore tab: Ever since we launched the Explore tab, it has been a one-tap means of getting suggestions on dining, events, and things to do based on the area being viewed. But we wanted to make this experience even more helpful; to reflect the rich diversity of local neighborhoods and communities. Which is why we have redesigned the Explore tab for India.


        We’ve heard that Indian Maps users prefer a more assistive and visual browsing experience that is easy to access. Based on top queries and the way people interact with Google Maps in India, we’ve added seven shortcuts that you can access from the Explore tab: Restaurants, Petrol Pumps, ATMs, Offers, Shopping, Hotels, and Medical Shops. Using machine learning, we automatically identify the top suggestions across these categories in every city.


        In addition to exploring near your location, you can now also explore other popular neighborhoods in your city -- simply tap the arrow option next to “Explore Nearby”. Using machine learning, we’re  able to automatically identify the top areas in every city. Besides your own city, you can also look up other Indian cities by just searching the city name -- an easy way to get up to speed before you travel.




        For You: Didn’t know about that hip new cafe that opened up in a neighboring suburb? Now it’s easier than ever to stay in-the-know: tap the For You tab to get inspiration on new restaurants, trending places, and personalized recommendations tailored to your interests. This feature also uses the ‘Your Match’ score, which uses machine learning to combine what we know about millions of places with the information you’ve added -- restaurants you’ve rated, cuisines you’ve liked, and places you have visited. The first time you use this feature you can select the areas/localities you are interested in, and get more personalized and relevant recommendations over time.


        Not only that, users can now ‘follow’ a business and get business updates, news on events and stay on top of any offers posted by them in the ‘For You’ tab. We’ll also recommend other businesses based on merchants you follow -- these interests are user-defined and also inferred by Google.


        The For You tab offers a simple, assistive experience to help you discover your city with a single tap -- and it will continue to improve over time.




        Offers: Everyone loves a good deal, but keeping track of offers from newspaper clippings or email announcements or through multiple apps can be hard — and lead to a bulging wallet. That's why we've added a way to discover local offers, starting with restaurants. We are launching an Offers section where you can find deals and claim them at restaurants across the top 11 Indian metros. Simply tap the ‘Offers’ shortcut in the Explore tab or filter for restaurants with offers. We’re launching this feature in partnership with EazyDiner, where you can now find offers for over 4,000 restaurants and hope to add many more categories and partners soon.


        We can’t wait for you to try out these new features, and to discover those hidden gems in your city. Happy exploring!

        Posted by Krish Vitaldevara, Director, Google Maps, and Chandu Thota, Director, Google Maps

        Get alerts with Google Maps if your vehicle goes off-route

        https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/E-onB1zDiYOKAtubcCgVg3S4sH6YcaEESJF3XsERTu0MH1ZEkZ0BD20by94COOs2dea4KRExSCvzpDkEzSbG1-tXWaFud73fPrWUTaRzVM7iidIBadHYtdr8Ii5Qry-rTQe3qlzB
        Smita left her office late in the evening and boarded an auto-rickshaw for her 30-min trip back home. After a long day at work, instead of relaxing and catching up on her chats, she was constantly checking Google Maps to ensure that the driver was on the right route. 


        At Google Maps, we have focused on building India-first features to deliver a more relevant and reliable experience for our users. Through our extensive research across India, we found that a lot of people limit their mobility due to safety-related concerns. Today, we're excited to announce a new feature - Stay Safer - for passengers like Smita, traveling in taxis and auto-rickshaws, to give them peace of mind, or avoid being taken through a longer route. 


        Now, after searching for your destination and getting directions, you can enable this experience by selecting the “Stay safer” and “Get off-route alerts” option. If your driver deviates more than 0.5KM from the Google Maps suggested route, your phone will buzz with a prominent notification, and you can tap it to see where you are compared to the original route. Then, you can also choose to share your live trip with friends and family directly from that screen so they know you are off route and can keep track of your journey, and take appropriate action, if required.

        It has been inspiring to work closely with users across India to develop, test and launch this feature. At Google Maps, we are committed to helping make journeys safe and hassle-free and look forward to bringing more experiences like this to India and beyond.


        Ready to give it a try? The feature is now available to Android users in India using the latest version of Google Maps. 


        By Amanda Bishop, Product Manager, Google Maps