Technology giant Google is known for making apps and services which could ease the daily lives of people. Similarly, smartphone companies have flooded the Indian markets with affordable handsets with great features. And smartphones are now being used in urban cities and rural towns alike. Considering this, Google has decided to launch a new app that a number of people in rural India would find useful– Google Bolo.
Google Bolo is a new Android app which the company unveiled on Wednesday. As the name suggests, Google Bolo is a speech-based reading tutor app which is aimed mainly at rural Indian children. Google hopes that with this step, it will be able to help rural children with their education by making it easier to learn languages. As of now, the app is available for Android and it can be downloaded from Google Play Store. The best thing about the app is that it also works offline. Google Bolo uses Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology.
Speaking about the app, Google said in a statement, “We believe technology has the power to help transform teaching and learning, and have been actively directing our products, programs, and philanthropy to ensure that all students are able to benefit from it.”
The app is built for native Hindi-speakers and it encourages the children to improve their Hindi and English reading and speaking skills by asking them to read aloud. The app comes with 16 engaging stories, which according to Google, are aimed at helping children in improving their comprehension skills. It is designed in a way that children can use it without any help and can read by themselves. Also, since it is aimed at rural Indian children, all the reading materials on the app are free of cost and it is also working with other companies to bring more reading materials to the app. The app is less than 50MB in size.
In a blog post, Google wrote “With the help of ASER Centre, we have been piloting Bolo across 200 villages in Uttar Pradesh, India, over the past few months. Early results are very encouraging, and we found that 64 percent of children showed an improvement in reading proficiency in just 3 months.”
Achievements = unlocked.
On #Bolo, kids can also play word games and earn in-app rewards and badges, making their learning experience more engaging and fun.
— Google India (@GoogleIndia) March 6, 2019
Also, to make it more engaging, Google has added in-app rewards and badges along with word games. The app is able to work with more than one child, so it can work in a family with more children and offer a personalized experience to all of them by tracking their progress separately.
The app also comes with an animated digital assistant called Diya. The assistant explains the English texts and words to the children and it also reads the texts aloud for them to repeat and see how it is pronounced. When children read the words correctly, Diya also compliments them. The digital assistant is able to read Hindi as well as English.
But Google has also mentioned that the app is still in its beta phase and the company is planning to work with Kaivalya, Saajha, Room to Read and Pratham to refine the app further. The company is also planning to add more features and languages to the app in the future. Currently, there is no word on if and when Google Bolo will make its way to iOS.