Tag Archives: India

Introducing the special fourth batch of Google for Startups Accelerator India

The Covid-19 pandemic has upended life as we know it and startups in the early stages of their journeys, with little to no cushion to keep them going, have become among the most vulnerable to the economic crises around the world. At the same time, the pandemic has accelerated digital adoption across sectors and equally, also poses immense opportunity for tech enabled startups, the rails for which are now much wider and growing fast. 

 

The charter for Google for Startups Accelerator, since inception, has been to bring the best of Google to India’s thriving startup ecosystem, leverage Google’s learnings across the globe to help startups home in on the crux of building their solution, than waste resources reinventing the wheel.  Since 2015, GFS Accelerator has mentored over 600 startups and accelerated over 60, which have collectively gone on to raise over $700 million in funding and played a key role in making India the second largest startup ecosystem in the world. 

 

This mission is more important than ever right now, when this ecosystem faces unprecedented odds. And so we have devoted this year to single-mindedly focusing on helping startups tide over the next 18-24 months, when the effects of the pandemic will be felt the strongest. 

 

Since the start of the year, over 500 startups have benefitted from  mentorships and webinar content specially created by Google mentors and collaborators. Earlier in the year, we joined forces with our mentors and ecosystem collaborators to launch Emerging Stronger: Playbook for Startups to face the Covid-19 Challenge, a guide accessible widely to startups all over the country, comprising actionable tips for reducing burn and lengthening runway during the pandemic.

In the same vein, we also decided to expand the scope of GFS Accelerator India, our 3 month mentorship and support program for startups, to include startups that are not only utilizing cutting edge tech but are meaningfully helping India, and potentially the world, adapt and move forward in this crisis.

After screening over 600 applicants, we have identified 20 startups, instead of our usual batch size of 10, to form the fourth class of GFS Accelerator India. These startups will receive 3 months of mentorship and support from our network of internal and external mentors. The ongoing support ranges from access to Google teams, tech guidance on projects, machine learning related support, UX and design mentorship, leadership workshops,  networking opportunities at industry engagements, PR support and much more.

 

The latest batch comprises startups across key areas requiring innovation such as education, retail, mental health and wellness, healthtech,  fintech and agritech and more. A warm welcome to the Class 4 of Google for Startup Accelerator India! 

 



antwak

Experiential Micro-Video Platform by professionals for professionals for free.

BharatAgri

End-to-end decision making support for Indian Farmers.

BlackLight Games

Brings multiplayer classic games to mobile creating socially interactive and community driven experiences.

Dcoder

Dcoder is a mobile first coding platform for coders to code on the go, anytime and anywhere.

Factors.ai

Automation of marketing analytics for SMBs/enterprises with a search driven AI powered product.

Foxy.in

eCommerce 2.0 in beauty & grooming

Gram Power

Cutting edge smart metering solutions to help businesses and utilities eliminate energy losses.

InnerHour

A Tech-enabled mental health platform that supports people with their psychological needs.

Leher

A social network around LIVE video discussions.

Lokal

Local news, information and classifieds platform for non english speaking users in India.

Math Buddy

Products to help students learn Math with understanding.

Mera Cashier

Efficient SMS and automatic IVR via a vernacular based mobile app to help SMBs get their credit back from customers 5x times faster.

Mosaic Wellness

Building Direct to Consumer brands which lead Indians to live a life filled with wellness & grace.

myHQ

For the changing needs of today’s remote workforce, myHQ provides affordable, hyperlocal and flexible workspace solutions so that businesses and individuals have the choice and flexibility to work the way they like.

Navia Life Care

Digital platform for patients and providers to improve patient care, experience and outcomes.

Orowealth

Provides the building blocks for wealth management , just plug in our developer friendly, enterprise grade APIs or a full solution platform and you are good to go.

Virohan

Virohan predicts job demand for each job role across India, builds out the curriculum needed and delivers standardized training through blended and online learning, focusing on the healthcare sector and tier 2/3 employability.

Wellthy Therapeutics

A digital medicine platform with proprietary clinical intelligence at its core and with therapy area expertise, algorithms, analytics and user experience design to assist all healthcare stakeholders achieve real world clinical and business outcomes

Womaniya

Helps pregnant women get timely information about their baby growth and their body changes; get all their doubts and queries resolved by verified doctors; and connect them to other pregnant women to discuss daily issues.

ZeoAuto

Helps last mile drivers making deliveries for couriers or independent businesses save time and cost by providing them the shortest route.


Posted by Paul Ravindranath G, Program Manager, GFS Accelerator


Helping global publishers accelerate business growth


Since launching the Google News Initiative in 2018, we’ve worked with news organizations of all sizes as they’ve adapted to the challenges of an increasingly digital world, which has impacted their business models and consumer behavior. Programs like our GNI Labs have helped publishers tackle specific business challenges, like digital subscriptions, advertising and data, while tools like News Consumer Insights have helped thousands of newsrooms grow their audiences online. 


During this time, we’ve learned from our partners that the shift to digital doesn’t happen overnight. It takes months and even years of hard work to attract and develop digitally-minded talent, adopt data-driven thinking and build an audience-first culture. Through the GNI, we want to support publishers with this transition. 


That’s why today, we’re introducing a global program to help news publishers navigate the complexity of digital transformation. The GNI Digital Growth Program is a free program aimed at helping small and mid-sized news publishers around the world develop the capabilities required to accelerate the growth of their businesses online. The program is informed by the lessons learned from GNI projects and programs, and was built in collaboration with industry experts including FT Strategies, FTI Consulting and Mather Economics, plus news industry associations including INMA, Local Media Association and WAN-IFRA


The GNI Digital Growth Program will initially focus on five topic areas: Reader Revenue, Audience Development, Advertising Revenue, Data and Product. Our curriculum includes playbooks full of real-world examples, interactive exercises to help solve business problems, workshops to bring these lessons to life and Labs to provide hands-on advisory support. At first, we’re focusing on our Reader Revenue pillar, with other topic areas coming over the next few months. Participating publishers can anticipate access to:


  • A comprehensive playbook that offers publishers strategies and real-world examples to help with building and optimizing a reader revenue model 

  • A set of interactive exercises, including an Opportunity Sizing exercise to help publishers estimate their potential reader revenue opportunity, a User Funnel diagnostic to identify areas for improvement across key reader revenue performance metrics and a Goal Setting exercise to build a plan for long-term reader revenue growth

  • Workshops led by top industry experts offering business recommendations

  • GNI Labs which provide a group of publishers with personalized support and one-on-one coaching from our industry partners


Publishers can access the free playbooks and exercises at any time on our online hub. The workshops are available on a first-come-first-served basis, while Labs will be available upon application. To sign up for our first series of workshops, please visit our GNI Digital Growth Program page


This program builds on our recently launched edition in Europe. We’ve now expanded to ten languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Polish, German, Korean, Japanese and Bahasa Indonesia. And as the curriculum evolves over time, we will introduce specialty sessions for publishers, such as Print-to-Digital Transformation and Digital Startups.


Google has long invested in supporting news organizations as they adapt their business models in an evolving media landscape. That’s why widely sharing our findings with the news industry has always been a cornerstone of the Google News Initiative’s approach. Through the GNI Digital Growth Program, we look forward to working with more news companies to think differently about their digital business, unlock new revenue opportunities and build sustainable growth online.


Posted by Ben Monnie, Director of Global Partnerships Solutions, News


A look at how we treat educational, documentary, scientific, and artistic content on YouTube

We are often asked whether our policies apply to all creators consistently, or if certain channels, like those controlled by public officials, media outlets, or celebrities get exceptions. Our Community Guidelines set the rules of the road to protect the YouTube community, while providing room for a broad range of views. Our reviewers are spread around the globe and we enforce our content policies consistently regardless of the speaker, political viewpoint, their background, their position, or their affiliations.

 

However, sometimes videos that might otherwise violate our policies may be allowed to stay on YouTube if the content offers a compelling reason with visible context for viewers. We often refer to this exception as “EDSA,” which stands for “Educational, Documentary, Scientific or Artistic.”

 

To help determine whether a video might qualify for an EDSA exception, we look at multiple factors, including the video title, descriptions and the context provided in the video’s audio or imagery. These decisions are nuanced and context is important. And we know it can be tricky for creators and viewers to understand why one video stays up while another is taken down. So let’s look at a few examples: 

 

  • We do not allow content targeting minors with insults or bullying, but we may allow content that shows this as part of an educational anti-bullying campaign provided the minors are actors or their identity hidden.  

  • Hate speech and encouragement of violence violate our policies but a documentary about WWII that features speeches from Nazi leaders may be allowed if the documentary provides historical context and does not aim to support views promoted by the Third Reich. 

  • We do not allow content targeting an individual with derogatory use of slurs based on race, sexuality, religion or other protected attributes. But a comedy “roast” using these terms toward a subject who is visible as a willing participant may be allowed, as we consider this to be artistic expression. 

  • Nudity that is meant to be sexually gratifying (like pornography) is not allowed on YouTube. But there are instances where nudity can have scientific value, like a video with imagery of a  medical professional conducting a physical examination. Similarly, a photographer exhibiting nude portraits or a music video featuring nude or semi-nude dancers for artistic purposes may be allowed. 

 

We do not automatically give exceptions to a video just because it is being presented as part of a news broadcast or contains footage from a conference. The educational or documentary intent needs to be clear by providing context. For some categories -- like videos containing hate speech, graphic violence, content from violent criminal organizations, or COVID-19 medical misinformation -- we have a higher bar given the dangers they present to the public. First, we require the context to be in the imagery or audio of the video itself (having it in the title or description is not enough). Second, it has to be clear to the viewer that the creator’s aim is not to promote or support the content that violates our policies. For example, content telling people that the COVID-19 does not exist is allowed only if the content’s audio or imagery also directly refutes these claims or gives greater weight to the consensus from health and medical authorities that the claims are untrue. 

 

There are also certain types of content where we don't allow an EDSA exception under any circumstances because of the sensitivity and egregiously harmful nature of the content, or when it violates the law. For example, content that endangers children or any content with footage of deadly violence filmed by the perpetrator is not allowed on YouTube, regardless of the context. 

 

EDSA exceptions are a critical way we make sure that important speech stays on YouTube, while protecting the wider YouTube ecosystem from harmful content. We hope this explanation will help viewers and creators better understand how we make these decisions to keep educational, documentary, scientific, and artistic content thriving on YouTube. Read more about how we develop and enforce our policies here.  

 

Posted by Michael Grosack, Head of Global Content Policy, YouTube


Understanding our Play gambling policies in India

Google Play is designed to provide a safe and secure experience for our consumers while also giving developers the platform and tools they need to build sustainable businesses. Our global policies have always been designed with that goal in mind, considering the good of all our stakeholders. 


We have the same goals for our gambling policy. We don’t allow online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting. This includes if an app leads consumers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes, it is a violation of our policies. 


We have these policies to protect users from potential harm. When an app violates these policies, we notify the developer of the violation and remove the app from Google Play until the developer brings the app into compliance. And in the case where there are repeated policy violations, we may take more serious action which may include terminating Google Play Developer accounts. Our policies are applied and enforced on all developers consistently.


We actively engage with our developer community for feedback while we define and refine our policies. Together, we will continue to create a safe and secure mobile app ecosystem for everyone. For more details on our policies, please take a look at our policy page which provides more details on the types of content in which regions are permitted.


Posted by Suzanne Frey, Vice President, Product, Android Security and Privacy

Building YouTube Shorts, a new way to watch & create on YouTube


YouTube has always been a place to be entertained from your favorite dance trends, like Evolution of Dance, Roller Skate Dances, or the Jerusalema Challenge to highly replayable short videos, like Charlie Bit My Finger, Good morning yall or even Lockdown Trick Shots. Over the years, YouTube has enabled an entire generation of creators who have shared their voice and found an audience of more than two billion people.


User-generated short videos were born on YouTube starting with our first upload, a short 18-second video “Me at the zoo.” As technology advances, creators and artists can now take advantage of the incredible power of smartphones to easily create and publish high-quality content wherever they are in the world. And people can be entertained and informed by bite-sized content in the spare minutes of the day.


That’s why we’re excited to announce that we are building YouTube Shorts, a new short-form video experience right on YouTube for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones.


Over the next few days in India, we’re launching an early beta of Shorts with a handful of new creation tools to test out. This is an early version of the product, but we're releasing it now to bring you our global community of users, creators and artists on our journey with us as we build and improve Shorts. We’ll continue to add more features and expand to more countries in the coming months as we learn from you and listen to your feedback. Here are more details on what to expect.


What is Shorts?

Shorts is a new way to express yourself in 15 seconds or less, and our team is focused on building its foundation across three main areas:


  • Create: Creation is at the core of short-form video, and we want to make it easy and fun to create Shorts. We’re starting to test just a few new tools for creators and artists with our early beta in India: 

    • A multi-segment camera to string multiple video clips together,

    • The option to record with music from a large library of songs that will continue to grow,

    • Speed controls that give you the flexibility to be creative in your performance,

    • And a timer and countdown to easily record, hands-free.



We also recently rolled-out a prominent new spot for the create icon on Android, starting in India. We'll continue to expand to iOS devices and in more countries soon. You can also expect more creation features in the coming months. 


  • Get discovered: Every month, 2 billion viewers come to YouTube to laugh, learn and connect. Creators have built entire businesses on YouTube, and we want to enable the next generation of mobile creators to also grow a community on YouTube with Shorts. 


We encourage any mobile creator or artist to start uploading their existing short videos on YouTube today to start getting discovered.


  • Watch: You may have recently seen a shelf on the YouTube homepage especially for short videos, and starting today we’re also introducing a new watch experience that lets you easily swipe vertically from one video to the next, plus discover other similar short videos. We're also going to make it even easier to start watching Shorts.


There’s much more to come, and over the next few weeks and months, we’ll continue to roll out more creation tools and easier ways to watch short videos on YouTube as we listen to your feedback. If you want to learn more about how to create Shorts, check out our forum post (English, Hindi).


Have fun with it and let us know what you think. We can’t wait to see what you do with Shorts and look forward to empowering a new generation of mobile creators and artists on the world's largest video platform.


Posted by Chris Jaffe, Vice President of Product Management, YouTube

Building YouTube Shorts, a new way to watch & create on YouTube


YouTube has always been a place to be entertained from your favorite dance trends, like Evolution of Dance, Roller Skate Dances, or the Jerusalema Challenge to highly replayable short videos, like Charlie Bit My Finger, Good morning yall or even Lockdown Trick Shots. Over the years, YouTube has enabled an entire generation of creators who have shared their voice and found an audience of more than two billion people.


User-generated short videos were born on YouTube starting with our first upload, a short 18-second video “Me at the zoo.” As technology advances, creators and artists can now take advantage of the incredible power of smartphones to easily create and publish high-quality content wherever they are in the world. And people can be entertained and informed by bite-sized content in the spare minutes of the day.


That’s why we’re excited to announce that we are building YouTube Shorts, a new short-form video experience right on YouTube for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones.


Over the next few days in India, we’re launching an early beta of Shorts with a handful of new creation tools to test out. This is an early version of the product, but we're releasing it now to bring you our global community of users, creators and artists on our journey with us as we build and improve Shorts. We’ll continue to add more features and expand to more countries in the coming months as we learn from you and listen to your feedback. Here are more details on what to expect.


What is Shorts?

Shorts is a new way to express yourself in 15 seconds or less, and our team is focused on building its foundation across three main areas:


  • Create: Creation is at the core of short-form video, and we want to make it easy and fun to create Shorts. We’re starting to test just a few new tools for creators and artists with our early beta in India: 

    • A multi-segment camera to string multiple video clips together,

    • The option to record with music from a large library of songs that will continue to grow,

    • Speed controls that give you the flexibility to be creative in your performance,

    • And a timer and countdown to easily record, hands-free.



We also recently rolled-out a prominent new spot for the create icon on Android, starting in India. We'll continue to expand to iOS devices and in more countries soon. You can also expect more creation features in the coming months. 


  • Get discovered: Every month, 2 billion viewers come to YouTube to laugh, learn and connect. Creators have built entire businesses on YouTube, and we want to enable the next generation of mobile creators to also grow a community on YouTube with Shorts. 


We encourage any mobile creator or artist to start uploading their existing short videos on YouTube today to start getting discovered.


  • Watch: You may have recently seen a shelf on the YouTube homepage especially for short videos, and starting today we’re also introducing a new watch experience that lets you easily swipe vertically from one video to the next, plus discover other similar short videos. We're also going to make it even easier to start watching Shorts.


There’s much more to come, and over the next few weeks and months, we’ll continue to roll out more creation tools and easier ways to watch short videos on YouTube as we listen to your feedback. If you want to learn more about how to create Shorts, check out our forum post (English, Hindi).


Have fun with it and let us know what you think. We can’t wait to see what you do with Shorts and look forward to empowering a new generation of mobile creators and artists on the world's largest video platform.


Posted by Chris Jaffe, Vice President of Product Management, YouTube

Building YouTube Shorts, a new way to watch & create on YouTube


YouTube has always been a place to be entertained from your favorite dance trends, like Evolution of Dance, Roller Skate Dances, or the Jerusalema Challenge to highly replayable short videos, like Charlie Bit My Finger, Good morning yall or even Lockdown Trick Shots. Over the years, YouTube has enabled an entire generation of creators who have shared their voice and found an audience of more than two billion people.


User-generated short videos were born on YouTube starting with our first upload, a short 18-second video “Me at the zoo.” As technology advances, creators and artists can now take advantage of the incredible power of smartphones to easily create and publish high-quality content wherever they are in the world. And people can be entertained and informed by bite-sized content in the spare minutes of the day.


That’s why we’re excited to announce that we are building YouTube Shorts, a new short-form video experience right on YouTube for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones.


Over the next few days in India, we’re launching an early beta of Shorts with a handful of new creation tools to test out. This is an early version of the product, but we're releasing it now to bring you our global community of users, creators and artists on our journey with us as we build and improve Shorts. We’ll continue to add more features and expand to more countries in the coming months as we learn from you and listen to your feedback. Here are more details on what to expect.


What is Shorts?

Shorts is a new way to express yourself in 15 seconds or less, and our team is focused on building its foundation across three main areas:


  • Create: Creation is at the core of short-form video, and we want to make it easy and fun to create Shorts. We’re starting to test just a few new tools for creators and artists with our early beta in India: 

    • A multi-segment camera to string multiple video clips together,

    • The option to record with music from a large library of songs that will continue to grow,

    • Speed controls that give you the flexibility to be creative in your performance,

    • And a timer and countdown to easily record, hands-free.



We also recently rolled-out a prominent new spot for the create icon on Android, starting in India. We'll continue to expand to iOS devices and in more countries soon. You can also expect more creation features in the coming months. 


  • Get discovered: Every month, 2 billion viewers come to YouTube to laugh, learn and connect. Creators have built entire businesses on YouTube, and we want to enable the next generation of mobile creators to also grow a community on YouTube with Shorts. 


We encourage any mobile creator or artist to start uploading their existing short videos on YouTube today to start getting discovered.


  • Watch: You may have recently seen a shelf on the YouTube homepage especially for short videos, and starting today we’re also introducing a new watch experience that lets you easily swipe vertically from one video to the next, plus discover other similar short videos. We're also going to make it even easier to start watching Shorts.


There’s much more to come, and over the next few weeks and months, we’ll continue to roll out more creation tools and easier ways to watch short videos on YouTube as we listen to your feedback. If you want to learn more about how to create Shorts, check out our forum post (English, Hindi).


Have fun with it and let us know what you think. We can’t wait to see what you do with Shorts and look forward to empowering a new generation of mobile creators and artists on the world's largest video platform.


Posted by Chris Jaffe, Vice President of Product Management, YouTube

Turning it up to Android 11



Android 11 has arrived! The latest release is all about helping you get to what's important on your phone with easier ways to help you manage your conversations, connected devices, privacy, and much more. In honor of the 11th version of Android, here are 11 new things that are coming in Android 11:


Better ways to communicate with the people in your life

  1. I often find myself switching between multiple messaging apps to stay connected with people I care about. In Android 11, conversations across messaging apps will be moved to a dedicated space in the notifications section, making it easy to manage your conversations in one spot. You can also prioritize conversations from the key people in your life so you never miss an important message. 
  2. Bubbles makes multitasking on your device a breeze. You can now respond to important conversations without having to switch back and forth between what you’re doing and your messaging app.  
  3. Built-in screen recording is finally here: Now you can capture and share what’s happening on your phone. Record with sound from your mic, device or both—no extra app required. 




New ways to control your connected devices & media

  1. You can now access all your smart devices in one place, simply by long pressing the power button. Control your connected devices like your thermostat or smart lock with a tap, so there’s no need to open multiple apps. 
  2. Media controls have been redesigned and are more helpful than ever. You can now quickly switch the device your media is playing on, so you can take your music with you from your headphones to your speaker without missing a beat. 
  3. Android Auto now works wirelessly for all phones running Android 11 as long as you have a compatible vehicle. So you can bring the best of your phone on every drive while skipping the cable—get directions with a tap, talk to send a text, play your favorite media and get help from Google Assistant


More control over your privacy and data
  1. One-time permissions will allow you to grant single use access to your most sensitive permissions: microphone, camera and location. The next time the app needs access to the sensors, it must ask you for your permission again.  
  2. If you haven’t used an app that you installed on your device in a while, you may not want it to keep accessing your data. Android will now “auto-reset” permissions for your unused apps and notify you accordingly. You can always decide to re-grant the app permissions the next time you use the app. 
  3. With additional Google Play system update modules, even more security and privacy fixes can be sent to your phone from Google Play, in the same way your apps update. So you’ll get these fixes as soon as they’re available, without having to wait for a full OS update. 
  4. For Android Enterprise users, Android 11 brings the privacy protections you get on a personally-owned device to your company-owned device. The work profile gives your IT department tools to manage a device without monitoring your personal profile data or activity on your phone. 


Even more on Pixel
  1. If you're using a Pixel 2 or above you'll get additional features to organize and manage your phone, like app suggestions on the home screen based on your daily routines, and new overview actions that allow you to take a screenshot of an app and select text and images, and more.
Android 11 will begin rolling out today on select Pixel, OnePlus, Xiaomi, OPPO and realme phones, with more partners launching and upgrading devices over the coming months. Learn more at android.com/android-11.

Posted by Dave Burke, VP of Engineering, Android 

Reinforcing our commitment to foundational literacy with Read Along



Learning to read forms the foundation of literacy and can unlock many opportunities in life. However there are challenges in this becoming a reality: according to the annual ASER 2018 report, of all students enrolled in grade 5 in rural India only about half of them can confidently read a grade 2 level textbook. Today, on the occasion of  International Literacy Day, we want to reiterate our focus on the universal development of foundational literacy skills. The National Mission for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) further emphasizes the urgency of achieving this goal.  

At Google, we deeply believe that technology can help kids around the world learn to read. In 2018, we released Bolo, an AI-enabled Android app to help kids improve reading skills. We have seen positive feedback from parents and educators across the country. Rakesh, a committed volunteer from a small village in Rajasthan, heard about the app from our partner NGO Kaivalya Education Foundation (a Piramal Foundation Initiative). He now uses it to help his students practice reading, and believes the app will go a long way to have lasting effects on his community. Bolo is now available as Read Along in over 180 countries and 10 languages.

Positive impact on reading outcomes and ecosystem recommendations

Rakesh’s story is similar to the encouraging feedback we’ve received from many other parents and children. To date, over 7 million students have cumulatively read more than 32 million stories on the app. We’re also seeing a positive impact of Read Along on children’s reading abilities. Our internal analysis shows that after reading 100 mins on the app, beginner readers (those who read at a speed of less than 45 correct words per minute) see an improvement from 38 percent to 88 percent in their oral reading fluency. 

In an assessment conducted by an independent partner comprising over 3,500 students in three languages and across five states in India, 40 percent more students who used Read Along saw an improvement of one or more reading levels as compared to students not using the app. 


Through our experience and on the ground partnerships we have also collated some key learnings relevant to anyone trying to leverage technology in the space of improving early age literacy 
  1. Achieving Scale: Integrating technology solution in existing NGO/Government led programs enables impact at scale.
  2. Supporting parents/guardians: A strong orientation program for parents/guardians is critical to enable device access and learning support for children
  3. Supporting educators: Technologies like Read Along can be easily integrated in lesson plans to make reading fun even in low tech classrooms. 

New features and books to improve the reading experience

While we’re both humbled and excited by these results, our work doesn’t stop here. Starting today, Read Along:  
  • Has more than 700 unique books across all languages, with a refreshing new look for the content library 
  • Features improvements that make it easier for multilingual kids to switch languages or get phonics support when they tap a word
We are working on features to aid comprehension and give educators the ability to create student reading groups and track progress. We are also making Read Along more accessible in the landscape mode.

Celebrate the joy of reading by taking part in our Story-A-Thon 

This International Literacy Day, we invite parents to continue to read to their kids -- both with and without Read Along -- and share stories written by their children. Read Along will publish few stories on open source platforms like Global Digital Library and Pratham Storyweaver.

Through our partnership with the Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Department on Mission Prerna and NGOs like CSF, KEF, Pratham, Saajha and more, we have been able to reach students who need support. As India embarks upon the NEP 2020 led FLN mission, we are committed to working with individuals, schools, corporate partners, NGOs and governments to help every child achieve their full potential. 

Posted by Nikita Bharadia, Product Marketing Manager, Education

Reinforcing our commitment to foundational literacy with Read Along



Learning to read forms the foundation of literacy and can unlock many opportunities in life. However there are challenges in this becoming a reality: according to the annual ASER 2018 report, of all students enrolled in grade 5 in rural India only about half of them can confidently read a grade 2 level textbook. Today, on the occasion of  International Literacy Day, we want to reiterate our focus on the universal development of foundational literacy skills. The National Mission for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) further emphasizes the urgency of achieving this goal.  

At Google, we deeply believe that technology can help kids around the world learn to read. In 2018, we released Bolo, an AI-enabled Android app to help kids improve reading skills. We have seen positive feedback from parents and educators across the country. Rakesh, a committed volunteer from a small village in Rajasthan, heard about the app from our partner NGO Kaivalya Education Foundation (a Piramal Foundation Initiative). He now uses it to help his students practice reading, and believes the app will go a long way to have lasting effects on his community. Bolo is now available as Read Along in over 180 countries and 10 languages.

Positive impact on reading outcomes and ecosystem recommendations

Rakesh’s story is similar to the encouraging feedback we’ve received from many other parents and children. To date, over 7 million students have cumulatively read more than 32 million stories on the app. We’re also seeing a positive impact of Read Along on children’s reading abilities. Our internal analysis shows that after reading 100 mins on the app, beginner readers (those who read at a speed of less than 45 correct words per minute) see an improvement from 38 percent to 88 percent in their oral reading fluency. 

In an assessment conducted by an independent partner comprising over 3,500 students in three languages and across five states in India, 40 percent more students who used Read Along saw an improvement of one or more reading levels as compared to students not using the app. 


Through our experience and on the ground partnerships we have also collated some key learnings relevant to anyone trying to leverage technology in the space of improving early age literacy 
  1. Achieving Scale: Integrating technology solution in existing NGO/Government led programs enables impact at scale.
  2. Supporting parents/guardians: A strong orientation program for parents/guardians is critical to enable device access and learning support for children
  3. Supporting educators: Technologies like Read Along can be easily integrated in lesson plans to make reading fun even in low tech classrooms. 

New features and books to improve the reading experience

While we’re both humbled and excited by these results, our work doesn’t stop here. Starting today, Read Along:  
  • Has more than 700 unique books across all languages, with a refreshing new look for the content library 
  • Features improvements that make it easier for multilingual kids to switch languages or get phonics support when they tap a word
We are working on features to aid comprehension and give educators the ability to create student reading groups and track progress. We are also making Read Along more accessible in the landscape mode.

Celebrate the joy of reading by taking part in our Story-A-Thon 

This International Literacy Day, we invite parents to continue to read to their kids -- both with and without Read Along -- and share stories written by their children. Read Along will publish few stories on open source platforms like Global Digital Library and Pratham Storyweaver.

Through our partnership with the Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Department on Mission Prerna and NGOs like CSF, KEF, Pratham, Saajha and more, we have been able to reach students who need support. As India embarks upon the NEP 2020 led FLN mission, we are committed to working with individuals, schools, corporate partners, NGOs and governments to help every child achieve their full potential. 

Posted by Nikita Bharadia, Product Marketing Manager, Education