Technology giant Google has recently released a statement that is fantastic news for Native Indian speakers around the globe. The world’s most popular search engine is now introducing a range of features to increase its understanding of Indian languages. This is in response to the huge increase of non-English speaking Indians joining their already colossal user-base.
Sanjay Gupta, VP of Google India stated that “India has added over 100 million new internet users from rural India in the last two years. Every new user coming online is an Indian language user, and we are committed to play a part,”. He went on to say, “Today, we are calling up the industry to take a Bharat-first approach and build an internet that works for every Indian.”
One of the new features will allow users to switch search results between English and four Indian languages; which includes Bangla, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu. Including funds for the new tool, Google has earmarked $10 billion to invest in India over the next five to seven years. Multilingual Representations for Indian Languages, or MuRIL for short, is their new machine learning tool and is expected to help business startups, researchers and students around the globe.
The open-source software, which is available on the TensorFlow Hub, can also provide support for 16 different Indian languages. The tool has been trained using Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT), which is Google’s very own language learning model and has been used for over two years now to improve their search engine results.
Some more features proposed by Google are the ability to understand the true meaning of the search query correctly. Previously, Google would have had trouble understanding the difference between people and places in many Indian languages, which is now a thing of the past. Furthermore, MuRIL now has the ability to understand the “feeling” of the search query, determining if a positive or negative sentiment was intended by the user.
Thanks to MuRIL, Google is also introducing another great improvement that is intended to help those who prefer to do their internet browsing through their mobile phones. Many users report that entering a query using their native language can take three times longer than using English due to the QWERTY style keyboard on many phones. In response to this, Google has stated that they plan to display content in multiple Indian languages regardless of the input language, when it is deemed appropriate, to help users get results faster.
Users will now have the ability to set their chosen language across both Google Assistant and Google Discover. Prior to this update, the users’ language set by the phone would be used for these apps. Now, if desired, you will be able to use Google in a different language to your mobiles language settings. This update will also be rolled out to Google Maps, which will allow users to select one of the nine languages Google is proposing to implement.