(Apologies to Drake)
At its annual jamboree – Google For India – now in its fifth year, Google announced that its virtual assistant, Google Assistant, will now be available over a call in India.
Phone Line with Google Assistant will allow people across India on Vodafone-Idea to call a toll-free number – 000 800 9191 000 – to talk to Google Assistant and ask for news, sports scores, traffic conditions, weather forecasts, amongst other things. No data connection needed.
This is a pretty good service that will allow hundreds of millions of people in India to access Google Assistant since more than half of the country’s 1.3 billion people doesn’t have access to smartphones and many still use inexpensive feature phones with limited or no access to mobile internet. It’s also a handy feature if you find yourself in an area with poor network.
This first-of-its-kind service was piloted in Kanpur and Lucknow. At the moment, it is available only in two languages – Hindi and English – day and night.
Google did not comment whether the feature will roll out in other countries besides India (many such India offerings like Google Station were eventually taken to other markets) or if the company will partner with any other telecom service providers.
Android 10 is here!
While it’s rolled out to Pixel phones already, other OEMs would slowly (some slower than others) bring the update to their portfolio of devices.Read more Android 10 is here… a list of new features
More often than not, for most regular users, I end up recommending a Nokia phone in their preferred price segment. One of the primary reasons for the same is that HMD Global, the company that makes Nokia smartphones, promises two years of security updates across its portfolio along with Android version upgrades.Read more Nokia leads Android smartphone makers when it comes to software updates: Counterpoint Research
Google Nest Hub is essentially a Google Home, plus a 7-inch display.
So, there’s Google Assistant built-in with visual feedback – a screen to watch an occasional YouTube video or look at a cooking recipe while working on it in the kitchen. All this while serving as a fantastic photo frame on your nightstand or the desk.Read more Google Nest Hub review
Starting today, I’ll be writing a column for HT Weekend, the weekend special edition of Hindustan Times, one of India’s leading national dailies.Read more Kicking off my new column in Hindustan Times
Some thoughts from a Twitter thread I did as the results of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 poured in, giving a massive mandate to BJP and Narendra Modi.Read more Modi 2.0… built on lies, propaganda, and bigotry