Tag Archives: India

Protecting our extended workforce and the community

Today, as the unprecedented COVID-19 situation continues, Google outlined how it’s reducing the need for people to come into its offices while ensuring that its products continue to operate for everyone. We are committed to keeping the YouTube community informed about our actions related to COVID-19 in a dedicated location in our help center. Here is our update from last week; below is some more information about the reduction of in-office staffing as it relates to YouTube:

We have teams at YouTube, as well as partner companies, that help us support and protect the YouTube community—from people who respond to user and creator questions, to reviewers who evaluate videos for possible policy violations. These teams and companies are staffed by thousands of people dedicated to helping users and creators. As the coronavirus response evolves, we are taking the steps needed to prioritize the well-being of our employees, our extended workforce, and the communities where they live, including reducing in-office staffing in certain sites.

Our Community Guidelines enforcement today is based on a combination of people and technology: Machine learning helps detect potentially harmful content and then sends it to human reviewers for assessment. As a result of the new measures we’re taking, we will temporarily start relying more on technology to help with some of the work normally done by reviewers. This means automated systems will start removing some content without human review, so we can continue to act quickly to remove violative content and protect our ecosystem, while we have workplace protections in place.

As we do this, users and creators may see increased video removals, including some videos that may not violate policies. We won’t issue strikes on this content except in cases where we have high confidence that it’s violative. If creators think that their content was removed in error, they can appeal the decision and our teams will take a look. However, note that our workforce precautions will also result in delayed appeal reviews. We’ll also be more cautious about what content gets promoted, including livestreams. In some cases, unreviewed content may not be available via search, on the homepage, or in recommendations.

All eligible creators will still be able to monetize videos and this does not change the updates on monetization of coronavirus-related videos we shared last week. And we’ll continue to enforce our policies regarding coronavirus content, including removing videos that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim harmful substances have health benefits.

The situation with coronavirus continues to change day by day, and we’ll continue to take the steps needed to protect our teams and the communities where they live. This may affect additional types of YouTube user and creator support and reviews, such as applications for the YouTube partner program or responses on social media. To stay up-to-date on any changes in our services—and our broader response to the coronavirus—continue to check the help center.

We recognize this may be a disruption for users and creators, but know this is the right thing to do for the people who work to keep YouTube safe and for the broader community. We appreciate everyone’s patience as we take these steps during this challenging time.

How a Local Guide helps women achieve financial freedom

Three years ago, my world changed completely. Three different surgeries after a road accident left me bedridden and confined to one room for a year and a half. I wondered if I would ever fully recover. I wondered if my career would suffer. I wondered if I would be able to do what I loved—traveling, eating out, and meeting new people. I wondered if I would be happy again. 

Thankfully, an optimistic friend planted an idea in my head: “Why don't you leave Google Maps reviews for places you have already visited?” I had no idea this was a possibility. I began to write Google Maps reviews without ever leaving my room in my hometown of Vapi, India—starting with a local restaurant I adore called Sam's Alive Again. I sensed my mood changing daily; I was helping people make better decisions about places to go and things to do. 

Quickly, my numbers added up; I contributed more than 700 reviews and 2,000 photos that have been seen more than 3 million times. In 2018, I was selected to attend Google’s annual meet-up of Local Guides, where top Google Maps contributors from around the world come together in San Francisco. I made new friends and learned about the amazing things they do for their communities, like adding accessibility information on Google Maps to help people with disabilities and arranging volunteer events. I felt helpful and inspired for the first time in a long time.

Being financially independent frees you from the opinions of others. Priyanka Upadhyay

My growing involvement with Local Guides taught me that photos are powerful. Reviews can transform a business. And technology gives a voice to women. I’ve seen this firsthand. My cousin runs a cake shop called Baker's Love out of her home in Vapi. Now that I’ve added her to Google Maps, she receives orders from far away places online. (She makes the most amazing chocolate cake, by the way.) 

And I loved teaching Urmila, the owner of Dimple Beauty Parlor, how to claim her business on Google Maps, maintain her photos, and respond to reviews. Urmila told me that she saw a jump in her weekly customers, and her business is doing fine. As Urmila says, “It’s essential to be able to stand on your own feet.”

There are so many social and economic hurdles to start a business—and I believe these multiply when you’re a woman. Financial independence frees you from the opinions of others, and I get excited when a woman is motivated to do her own thing. Through Local Guides Connect, our online forum where Local Guides swap tips and network from around the world, I run a group called “Empowered Women of Vapi, India.” Together, we identify stories about women in Vapi; in 2020, we’re organizing 28 meet-ups in all 28 states of India (yes, all!). At each meet-up we will visit the state capital, gather women business owners, improve their Google Maps place pages, and forge connections between Local Guides.

This is my way of encouraging women to keep going—no matter the obstacle. Women are strong, inspiring, and resilient. Today, I’m fully recovered, and looking back, I’m so grateful I didn’t allow my surgeries to stop me.

Reboot your career with DigiPivot – Introducing a skilling program for women to build their careers in digital marketing

We are excited to introduce DigiPivot, a skilling program designed for women who are looking to  return to their corporate careers after a break or simply planning to make mid career shifts to digital marketing.
Developed jointly in association with Avtar and the prestigious Indian School of Business, the program aims to influence the overall gender mix in the digital marketing landscape in India and will provide an opportunity for 200 Women Professionals to re-skill themselves and become India’s next set of Digital Marketing Leaders. 
Selected participants will go through a curated 18 week learning program and engagement (both offline and online) that aims to empower the participants with digital marketing knowledge and tools as well as mentorship on strategic leadership skills. The program will culminate in a day long Graduation event at the Google Hyderabad Campus on 28th August 2020. 
The program is open to both women professionals who are currently working and those who are keen to return to the workforce with 4-10 years of experience in consulting, analytics, branding and sales and support with passion for digital marketing. The program is completely sponsored by Google and does not require participants to contribute to any registration, participation, travel or accommodation fees.
Applications are open from today. If you are interested or know someone who is looking for a career switch to digital marketing, share the link with them and ask them to register and apply today. Last date for registration is 21st March 2020.
You can read more about the program and apply here.

Posted by Arijit Sarker, VP, gTech Professional Services 

Easier access to web pages: Let the Assistant read it aloud

Think about how much you read on your phone every day: catching up on the news, scanning a new blog, finally reading the article that everyone is talking about. This may require reading a lot of text, which can be a barrier for people with visual or reading difficulties, or who simply need a little help reading meatier articles.

With the Google Assistant, your browser can now read web articles out loud. Whenever a web article is displayed on your browser in your Android phone, you can say, “Hey Google, read it” or “Hey Google, read this page” it will immediately read aloud the content of the web page. To help you follow along, your browser will automatically scroll the page and highlight words as they’re read aloud. You can also alter the reading speed and choose from multiple voices. Speaking of which, the web pages are read aloud in expressive and natural voices, aiming to use the same intonation and rhythm that you'd use if you were reading it aloud yourself.

If the original content isn’t in your native language, the Assistant can trigger your browser to read aloud in 42 languages (which includes Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Nepali, Sinhalese, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.) You can use the translation menu to select the desired language, and all pages will be automatically translated and read out in that language.

Websites don't need to do anything special to enable this functionality. Webmasters that prefer not to use this feature can  use the nopagereadaloud tag. If you’re a developer, you can add the ability for Google Assistant to read aloud content in your mobile app using Actions on Google.

With this new experience, we hope to remove language barriers and help a wide variety of people access information from the web more easily. 

Posted by Yossi Matias, VP, Engineering

Growing our investment in India with a new cloud region coming to Delhi

At Google Cloud, our mission is to accelerate every organisation’s ability to transform through data-powered innovation with leading infrastructure, platform, industry solutions and expertise designed to meet our customers where they are on their journey to the cloud. 

Our cloud regions bring Google Cloud Platform (GCP) services to global organizations in industries like media and entertainment, retail and manufacturing, helping them drive growth, differentiation, and innovation for their business. As our customers in India grow and diversify, we continue to advance and invest in our cloud infrastructure to help regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services, as well as public sector organisations across India achieve their goals. 

Introducing our next cloud region in India

Today, we are thrilled to share our plans to open a Delhi cloud region. This will be our second cloud region in India since we launched our Mumbai region in 2017, and will expand our existing network of eight regions in Asia Pacific and 22 regions globally today.

GCP regions are the cornerstone of our cloud infrastructure, and they enable customers such as L&T Finance, Manipal Hospital Group, Reliance Mutual Fund, Royal Enfield, TechMahindra, Truecaller, and many more to deliver high performing, secure, low latency, cloud-based services to their users, no matter where they are around the world. 

Projected to launch in 2021, our Delhi cloud region will have three zones to protect against service disruptions. The region will also include  a portfolio of key GCP products, offer lower latency to nearby users, and, when combined with the existing region in Mumbai, enables geographically separate in-country disaster recovery for our customers’ mission critical applications. 

For customers in Delhi and beyond—and businesses and organisations yet to try our services—the new region presents an opportunity to take advantage of our big data and infrastructure services onshore while staying compliant with India’s data laws and regulations.  

Here’s what some of our customers have to say about the value of our expanding GCP infrastructure brings to their business:

“Cloud is the technology that enables us to achieve scale and reach. Today there are countless data points available about rural consumers which enable us to personalize our products to serve them better. With access to faster compute power, we can also on-board consumers more efficiently. Our rural businesses have clocked a disbursement CAGR of 60% over the past three years." 
-- Sunil Prabhune, Chief Executive-Rural Finance, and Group Head-Digital, IT and Analytics, L&T Financial Services
“We knew we made the right choice when we selected Dialogflow Enterprise Edition as our strategic, long-term platform to run intelligent chatbots across our inhouse processes and functions. A Delhi cloud region shows we are working with a cloud provider that shares our commitment to high quality in-market and multinational services.” -- Mukesh Rathi, CIO & Chief Digital Officer, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories
“Buyers and suppliers can already access our marketplace much faster than previously with Google Cloud, and this has a positive impact on customer engagement, time spent and the entire user journey. We are extremely excited about the potential of a second GCP region in India to help us provide an even better experience to the businesses that use IndiaMART.” -- Amarinder S Dhaliwal, Chief Product Officer, IndiaMART
“Google Cloud is transforming the cloud market similar to what NoBroker is doing by providing C2C platform for real estate needs without any brokerages. A second Google Cloud region in India will give us access to secure infrastructure closure to customers as we recently launched NoBroker services in NCR region. It will also help us retain customer data within India - meeting our compliance requirements.” -- Akhil Gupta, Co Founder and Chief Technology Officer, NoBroker

2020 is already shaping up to be a great year for Google Cloud in India, and we look forward to helping businesses and governments solve their most complex challenges and create value for years to come. 

Posted by Rick Harshman, Managing Director, Google Cloud Asia Pacific

Calling all fashion & beauty mavens for India’s first NextUp for Beauty Creators!

Whether it’s a simple makeup look, an intricate braided hairstyle, or live streams from the latest Fashion Week, YouTube has grown into an incredible repository of fashion and beauty content from across the globe. Last year, we also launched YouTube.com/Fashion a first-of-its kind, dedicated destination for fashion & beauty content on YouTube. 

With more access to information and products, beauty norms are fast-changing in India too, and YouTube creators are at the forefront of this change. They are helping democratize expression and encouraging men & women to break the set moulds of beauty, grooming and style. In our quest to identify and support the next generation of rising Beauty Creators in India on the platform, we’re proud to announce the launch of the inaugural NextUp for Beauty Creators with L'Oréal Paris. 

Having successfully contributed to the journeys of over 80 Indian creators & artists across languages, genres, and genders over the last 5 years, we return for a fifth year with YouTube NextUp in India. This edition is extra-special, as we have partnered with one of the world’s largest & most recognised beauty brands - L'Oréal Paris - bringing their years of expertise in the beauty industry directly to our rising stars on YouTube. Winners will get a chance to attend masterclasses with beauty industry specialists, gain market insights on trends, and network with brand representatives. 

Who are we looking for? 

For this special edition of NextUp, we are celebrating those who are keen about beauty, and who are passionate about creating compelling content around beauty. We are looking for aspiring creators who are ready to learn and focus on improving their production and storytelling skills, who seek mentorship from industry stalwarts, and who dream of reshaping the narrative of beauty content in India on YouTube and beyond. 

Up to 12 YouTube channels from India will be selected as winners to join the NextUp for Beauty Creators Class of 2020. If selected, you will be eligible to receive:

  • A week of intensive production classes and filming opportunities at a YouTube Pop-Up Space in India, in May 2020
  • Specialized educational workshops and skill-sharing sessions designed by production gurus, content specialists, and industry experts, tailored for beauty creators
  • INR 1,40,000 voucher towards production gear

    Want even more reasons to apply? Hear directly from our Alumni! 

    "My biggest takeaway was having the rare opportunity of having an expert scrutinize your content and give you workable tips on how to make it better! Thanks to NextUp, I know so much more."Nidhi Mohan Kamal, NextUp Women to Watch Winner 2019

    Live the NextUp Journey

    Excited? So are we! Here’s how to apply: 

    1. Visit the NextUp website at youtube.com/nextup to check Eligibility Requirements and Contest Rules. 
    2. If you meet the criteria, go ahead and apply! We welcome entries from all over India for the contest.  

      We can’t wait to see what you come up with! Tweet at us at @YTCreatorsIndia with the hashtag #YouTubeNextUp to share your excitement for the contest. And watch this space for other special editions of NextUp in 2020. 

      Posted by Satya Raghavan, Director, YouTube Partnerships, India, & Marc Lefkowitz, Head of YouTube Creator and Artist Development, APAC

      Inviting applications for Class 4 of Google for Startups Accelerator India

      In July 2018, we announced the launch of Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator India. Since then, we have worked with 30 technology startups over 3 classes, that were solving for India’s most pressing problems such as sanitation, healthcare, agritech, fintech and sustainability. Going forward, the Launchpad Accelerator India program will be known as Google for Startups Accelerator India,. This will unify and strengthen our numerous efforts to nurture and grow the startup ecosystem under the Google for Startups brand.

      In January 2020, we concluded Class 3 of the program with a graduation ceremony for the 10 startups of the batch. During these 3 months, the startups underwent intense mentorship bootcamps, tech workshops, design sprints and marketing growth labs along with forging crucial connections to tech teams within Google and experts in the industry.  The startups were also offered opportunities to attend conferences to showcase their work and interact with the media.

      In addition to technical mentoring, the startups also underwent a Google-created Leaders Lab that is designed to build empathy in leaders, provide tools for creating sustainable team culture and reveal blind spots in their leadership styles. 

      As these 10 startups continue on their journey to build scalable solutions to India’s core problems, we are excited to now invite applications for Class 4 of Google for Startups Accelerator India.

      If you are a startup that uses technology like AI/ML to solve systemic problems in India, submit your application now, at this link, under 'Google for Startups Accelerator India', by 15th March 2020. The batch will kick off with a 1-week mentorship bootcamp in April, in Bangalore.

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

      1) You should be a technology startup
      2) Your base should be in India
      3) You should preferably have at least raised seed funding
      4) You should be addressing a challenge that is specific to India
      5) The product should 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.

      Successful applicants will be notified in early April. 

      Posted by Paul Ravindranath G, Program Manager, Developer Relations, Google India 

      Five years, 400+ stations and thousands of locations later; Reimagining our role

      Google’s mission today is the same as when we were founded over 20 years ago: to make the internet accessible and useful for everyone. That includes building for the next billion people coming online around the world over the next few years. 

      Through our Next Billion Users initiative, we pursue new technical solutions to help these users get more from the internet. These efforts range from building lite apps (YouTube Go, Google Go and more), offline features (such as YouTube and Maps Offline), to country-specific products like Tez (now Google Pay India) and platforms like Android Go to bring lower-cost devices to customers.

      Google Station is one such effort. We launched Station in India in 2015, as a partnership between Google, Indian Railways and Railtel to bring fast, free public WiFi to over 400 of the busiest railway stations in India by mid-2020. But we crossed that number by June 2018 and implemented Station in thousands of other locations around the country in partnership with telecommunications companies, ISPs and local authorities. Over time, partners in other countries asked for Station too and we responded accordingly. We’re grateful for these partnerships, especially with the Indian Railways and the Government of India, that helped us serve millions of users over the last few years.

      India has been at the heart of our efforts to increase access to the internet, be it through low cost devices, helping people search and use online tools in popularly spoken Indian languages, or making the Assistant available on feature phones. We’re also helping to skill small businesses and women around the country on how to use the internet so they use it to enhance their lives and those of their communities, and customising our products like Search, Maps and YouTube to meet the unique needs of Indians.  

      As we look to the next phase of enabling access, it’s clear that since we started five years ago, getting online has become much simpler and cheaper. Mobile data plans have become more affordable and mobile connectivity is improving globally. India, specifically now has among the cheapest mobile data per GB in the world, with mobile data prices having reduced by 95% in the last 5 years, as per TRAI in 2019. Today, Indian users consume close to 10 GB of data, each month, on average*. And similar to what the Indian government did, several governments and local entities have kicked off their own initiatives to provide easier, cost-effective access to the internet for everyone. 

      In addition to this changed context, the challenge of varying technical requirements and infrastructure among our partners across countries has also made it difficult for Station to scale and be sustainable, especially for our partners. And when we evaluate where we can truly make an impact in the future, we see greater need and bigger opportunities in building products and features tailored to work better for the next billion user markets. 

      Therefore, we've made the decision to gradually wind down the Station program globally, through 2020. We are working with our partners to transition existing sites so they can remain useful resources for the community. 

      Our commitment to supporting the next billion users remains stronger than ever, from continuing our efforts to make the internet work for more people; building more relevant and helpful apps and services; providing digital skills training for users and businesses and creating platforms that are helpful and empower developers and internet users around the world. 

      *Ericsson Mobility Report 2019

      Posted by Caesar Sengupta, VP - Payments and Next Billion Users, Google

      Applying AI to big problems––six research projects we’re supporting in public health, education, disaster prevention, and conservation

      Whether it’s forecasting floods or detecting diabetic eye disease -- we’re increasingly seeing people apply AI to address big challenges. In fact, we believe that some of the biggest issues of our time can be tackled with AI. This is why we’ve made research in AI for Social Good one of the key focus areas of Google Research India, the AI lab we started in Bangalore last September. 

      As we’re planning to explore applied research in a variety of fields, from healthcare to education, partnering closely with experts in these areas is crucial. Today, we’re kicking off support for six research projects led by organizations from India and across Asia, focusing on addressing social, humanitarian and environmental challenges with AI. Each project is a collaboration between leading academic AI researchers and a nonprofit organization with expertise in the respective area, with support from Google researchers, engineers and program managers. 

      In addition to supporting these efforts with expertise in areas such as computer vision, natural language processing, and other deep learning techniques, we are also providing each team with funding and computational resources. 

      • Improving health information for high HIV/AIDS risk communities: Applying AI to identify influencers among marginalized communities at high risk of HIV/AIDS contraction, with the goal of better disseminating health information, providing services, and ultimately reducing the rate of HIV contraction. 
        • Predicting risks for expectant mothers: Using AI to predict the risk of expectant mothers dropping out of healthcare programs, to improve targeted interventions and increase positive healthcare outcomes for mothers and their babies.  
          • Improving consistency of healthcare information input: Applying AI to help ensure consistency in how healthcare information is captured and monitored, to enable more targeted and actionable healthcare interventions.
          • Predicting human-wildlife conflict: Using AI to predict human-wildlife conflict in the state of Maharashtra to help inform data-driven policy making. 
            • Improving dam and barrage water release: Using AI to inform dam and barrage water releases, to help build early warning systems that minimize risk of disasters. 
            • Supporting publishing of underserved Indian language content: Building open-source input tools for underserved Indian languages to accelerate publishing of openly licensed content. 

              Starting on this research journey today, we look forward to supporting academic researchers, organizations and the broader community over the coming months and years to bring these projects to life. Healthcare, conservation, education, and disaster prediction are some of the most difficult challenges of our time. As computer scientists, it’s incredibly humbling and exciting to partner with the community towards making a positive impact for people in India and around the world. 

              Posted by Manish Gupta, Director, Google Research Team in India and Milind Tambe, Director AI for Social Good, Google Research Team in India

              #PehleSafety: Doubling down on our commitment to keeping our users safe online

              At Google, we take very seriously the responsibility to build trust in the internet and make it an environment that’s safe for everyone. We know people are using Google at different stages of their internet journey -- from people experiencing the Internet for the first time on their new smartphone, to long-time Internet-savvy users -- and they look to us to have their backs every step of the way.

              All Google products are built on a strong foundation of security that automatically protects you and your data from a wide range of threats; from our custom-built infrastructure that protects our data centers and servers, to layers of advanced encryption that protect user data across Chrome and Gmail. We are constantly on the lookout for risks and we automatically block a wide range of security threats from ever impacting you. 

              For example, our automatic Gmail spam and phishing filters block 99.9 percent of suspicious or dangerous emails before they reach you. We also  block billions of bad ads (those that violate policies on our own and partners’ sites.) We block an average of 100 bad ads per second, so you’re better protected as you browse the internet.

              Vested in our users’ online safety 

              We believe that education is a crucial aspect of online security. Over the course of the last year we launched a far-reaching campaign to inform our users about online security, and the steps they can take to keep their internet experience safe. We worked with top YouTube influencers to spread the word on online safety, and launched powerful, step-by-step tools like the Security Checkup and Password Checkup that help you strengthen your Google Account security and address issues in minutes. Hundreds of millions of users visit the Security Checkup each year.

              Our products are designed to surface the most authoritative sources of content, but in some cases people with malicious intent are able to seed content on the Internet that is designed to mislead people. We use cutting-edge AI in our automated systems that help detect and remove such content at scale.

              Recommitting ourselves to online security with #PehleSafety

              Building on this momentum, we are happy to announce our #PehleSafety campaign that kicks off today. We are launching a comprehensive public outreach and communications campaign that will both educate people about best practices for staying safe online, as well as walk them through specific actions they can take to lock down and protect their online presence.

              We continue to work with government bodies to help spread the message of online safety more extensively. We have also launched an extensive internet security campaign along with the Data Security Council of India (DSCI), aimed at reaching out to millions of end users and educating them about best practices for staying safe online.

              The safety of our users remains our highest priority, and we are committed to working toward protecting our users, products, and everything that is so valuable about the internet.

              Posted by Saikat Mitra, Director - Trust & Safety