News and Notes from Google India
YouTube NextUp is back in India — enter now for a chance to be a part of NextUp’s Class of 2017!
April 28, 2017
Whether you are passionate about sharing your recipes with the world like
, or are a tech whiz like
, YouTube is committed to supporting you at every step of your creator journey. As a part of our quest to hone the next generation of talent on YouTube, we are bringing back the YouTube NextUp program across YouTube Spaces globally this year — and yes, it is back in Mumbai.
Last year in 2016, NextUp made its
debut in India
, where 30 winners were selected from a diverse group of entries that surpassed boundaries of language, region, or content genre. We hosted the winners at
YouTube Space Mumbai at Whistling Woods International
for a week long creator camp where they learned about production techniques, participated in scripting workshops, collaborated with other creators, and had a lot of fun making new videos.
So what is it
like to be a NextUp alum?
Check out the video below to see and hear more about the experience of the class of 2016:
As you can see, NextUp has helped many creators turbocharge their channels and expand their online presence. Last year’s NextUp alumni such as
Ur Indian Consumer
(among others) walked the YouTube FanFest red carpet for the first time and
even performed on stage in front of 7500 screaming fans in Mumbai. Sign up for NextUp to see if this can be you!
YouTube NextUp 2016 Playlist
So who’s NextUp?
We’re looking for passionate and motivated YouTube creators who are ready to create more compelling stories with better production skills; those who are seeking mentorship from production and channel development experts, and eager participants looking for an opportunity to collaborate with talented creators and be a part of the global NextUp community.
Up to 12 YouTube channels from India
will be selected as winners to join the NextUp class of 2017 at
YouTube Space Mumbai.
If selected, you will be eligible to receive:
Week-long creator camp at YouTube Space Mumbai
Voucher of INR 130,000 for video production equipment
Ongoing account management by the YouTube Partnerships team
Opportunity to meet and learn from the NextUp Alumni and some of the fast fast-rising creators in India
*new for 2017*
One channel from each NextUp camp in 2016-17 will be invited to attend a global creator camp at YouTube Space LA at the end of 2017
To enter the India YouTube NextUp contest, see full details (including the eligibility requirements and contest rules) at
We’re excited to see what you’ll come up with!
Posted by Rajant Meshram,
YouTube Online Partnerships Lead, Google Asia Pacific, recently watched
Fashion Bloggers in Real Life| Sejal Kumar
Our latest quality improvements for Search
April 26, 2017
[Cross posted from the
Official Google Blog
Search can always be improved. We knew it when I started working on Search in 1999, and it’s still true today. Back then, the Internet was expanding at an incredible rate. We had to make sense of this explosion of information, organize it, and present it in a way so that people could find what they were looking for, right on the Google results page. The work then was around PageRank, the core algorithm used to measure the importance of webpages so they could be ranked in results. In addition to trying to organize information, our
have always had to grapple with individuals or systems seeking to “game” our systems in order to appear higher in search results—using low-quality “
,” hidden text and other deceptive practices. We've tackled these problems, and others over the years, by making regular updates to our algorithms and introducing other features that prevent people from gaming the system.
Today, in a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system. The most high profile of these issues is the phenomenon of “fake news,” where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information. While this problem is different from issues in the past, our goal remains the same—to provide people with access to relevant information from the most reliable sources available. And while we may not always get it right, we’re making good progress in tackling the problem. But in order to have long-term and impactful changes, more structural changes in Search are needed.
With that longer-term effort in mind, today we’re taking the next step toward continuing to surface more high-quality content from the web. This includes improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for people to provide direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works.
Our algorithms help identify reliable sources from the hundreds of billions of pages in our index. However, it’s become very apparent that a small set of queries in our daily traffic (around 0.25 percent), have been returning offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for. To help prevent the spread of such content for this subset of queries, we’ve improved our evaluation methods and made algorithmic updates to surface more authoritative content.
New Search Quality Rater guidelines:
Developing changes to Search involves a process of experimentation. As part of that process, we have evaluators—real people who assess the quality of Google’s search results—give us feedback on our experiments. These ratings don’t determine individual page rankings, but are used to help us gather data on the quality of our results and identify areas where we need to improve. Last month, we updated our
Search Quality Rater Guidelines
to provide more detailed examples of low-quality webpages for raters to appropriately flag, which can include misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories. These guidelines will begin to help our algorithms in demoting such low-quality content and help us to make additional improvements over time.
We combine hundreds of signals to determine which results we show for a given query—from the freshness of the content, to the number of times your search queries appear on the page. We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content, so that issues similar to the
results that we saw back in December are less likely to appear.
Direct feedback tools
When you visit Google, we aim to speed up your experience with features like
, which helps predict the searches you might be typing to quickly get to the info you need, and
, which shows a highlight of the information relevant to what you’re looking for at the top of your search results. The content that appears in these features is generated algorithmically and is a reflection of what people are searching for and what’s available on the web. This can sometimes lead to results that are unexpected, inaccurate or offensive. Starting today, we’re making it much easier for people to directly flag content that appears in both Autocomplete predictions and Featured Snippets. These new feedback mechanisms include clearly labeled categories so you can inform us directly if you find sensitive or unhelpful content. We plan to use this feedback to help improve our algorithms.
New feedback link for Autocomplete
Updated feedback link for Featured Snippets
Greater transparency about our products
Over the last few months, we’ve been asked tough questions about why shocking or offensive predictions were appearing in Autocomplete. Based on this, we evaluated where we can improve our content policies and updated them appropriately. Now we’re publishing this policy to the
so anyone can learn more about Autocomplete and our approach to removals.
For those looking to delve a little deeper, we recently updated our
How Search Works site
to provide more information to users and website owners about the technology behind Search. The site includes a description of how Google ranking systems sort through hundreds of billions of pages to return your results, as well as an overview of our user testing process.
There are trillions of searches on Google every year. In fact, 15 percent of searches we see every day are new—which means there’s always more work for us to do to present people with the best answers to their queries from a wide variety of legitimate sources. While our search results will never be perfect, we’re as committed as always to preserving your trust and to ensuring our products continue to be useful for everyone.
Posted by Ben Gomes, VP, Engineering
Bringing down the language barriers - making the internet more inclusive
April 25, 2017
There are currently over 400* million Internet users in India, but with only 20% of the population fluent in English, most Internet users have significant language barriers to getting the full value of the Internet. A speaker of Indian languages like Hindi or Tamil still has trouble finding content to read and or use services that they can use in their own languages.
To build rich and empowering experiences for everyone means first and foremost making things work in the languages people speak. Today, we’re taking a huge step forward by launching new set of products and features that will empower the Internet ecosystem to create more language content and better serve the needs of a billion Indians who’re coming online rapidly.
Neural Machine Translation: The world’s content, in your language
Starting today, when you use Google Translate, you might notice that the translation is more accurate and easier to understand, especially when translating full sentences. That’s because we’ve brought our new
Neural Machine Translation
technology to translations between English and nine widely used Indian languages — Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Gujarati, Punjabi, Malayalam and Kannada.
Neural translation is a lot better than our old phrase-based system, translating full sentences at a time, instead of pieces of a sentence. It uses this broader context to help it figure out the most relevant translation, which it then rearranges and adjusts to be more like a human speaking with proper grammar. This new technique improves the quality of translation more in a single jump than we’ve seen in the last ten years combined.
Just like it’s easier to learn a language when you already know a related language, we’ve discovered that our neural technology speaks each language better when it learns several at a time. For example, we have a whole lot more sample data for Hindi than its relatives Marathi and Bengali, but when we train them all together, the translations for all improve more than if we’d trained each individually.
Left: Phrase based translation. Right: Neural machine translation
You can try these out on
Google Translate apps, at
and through Google Search.
But how does this make the whole web better for everyone — Chrome has it covered!
That’s where Chrome’s built-in Translate functionality comes into play. Every day, more than 150 million web pages are translated by Chrome users through the magic of machine translations with one click or tap. The Chrome team and the Google Translate team have worked together to bring the power of Neural Machine Translation to web content, making full-page translations more accurate and easier to read.
Today, we’re extending Neural Machine Translation built into Chrome to and from English for the same nine Indian languages (Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil Telugu and Hindi). This means higher quality translations of everything from song lyrics to news articles to cricket discussions.
Gboard in 22 Indian languages and more
Being able to type in your language of choice is as important as understanding content on the web. Today, we are ramping up support to include 11 new languages to the list of 11 existing Indian languages —with transliteration support—including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, and Gujarati.
Gboard has all the things you love about your Google Keyboard — speed and accuracy, Glide Typing and voice typing — plus Google Search built in. It also allows you to search and use Google Translate right in your keyboard (just tap the “G” button to get started). And—as a reminder—Gboard already has a Hinglish language option for those of you who often switch back and forth between Hindi and English.
With today’s update, we’ve also dropped in a new text editing tool that makes it easier to select, copy and paste, plus new options for resizing and repositioning the keyboard so it fits to your hand and texting style. And to top it all off, this Gboard update comes with some under-the-hood improvements including better accuracy and predictions while you type
Like Google Indic Keyboard, Gboard has auto-correction and prediction in these new languages, plus two layouts for each—one in the native language script and one with the QWERTY layout for transliteration, which lets you spell words phonetically using the QWERTY alphabet and get text output in your native language script. For example, type “aapko holi ki hardik shubhkamnay” and get “आपको होली की हार्दिक शुभकामनायें ”.
This is available today on
Google Play Store
, so make sure you’re running the latest version of the app.
Auto-translated local reviews in Maps
The local information across Google Search and Maps helps millions of people, every day, to discover and share great places. Our goal is to build a map tailored to each user and their likes and preferences and make it work for everyone in their local languages. Starting today, we’ll automatically add translations to local reviews on Google Maps, both on mobile and desktop. With this update, millions of these reviews – from restaurants to cafes or hotels – will appear in your own language.
All you need to do is launch Google Maps, open reviews, and they’ll appear in both the original language as well as the
language you set on your device
. So for instance if you speak Tamil and travel to Kolkata, and you want to see reviews of the popular restaurants in Kolkata, you can now automatically see reviews both in your own language and the original language of the review.
Hindi Dictionary in Search
When you search for the meaning of a word in English, for instance “meaning of nostalgic”, you’ll get a dictionary straight in Google Search. Today, in collaboration with the
Oxford University Press
, we’re bringing the Rajpal & Sons Hindi dictionary online. This new experience supports transliteration so you don’t even need to switch to a Hindi keyboard. So the next time when you’d like to know more about a word, say Nirdeshak, you can just type in Nirdeshak ka matlab in Search, and you’ll instantly get to see word meanings and dictionary definitions on the search results page, including English translations.
While all these new products and improvements takes us closer to make the web more useful for Indian Language users. We realise that we can’t do this alone, we need India’s internet ecosystem to come together to build apps and more content to make India’s Internet that serve its users need. And one way to effectively get the Internet Industry together to solve for local language users is to really understand the users, understand their needs to shape India’s Internet landscape. We have worked with KPMG India to compile an industry report titled “
Indian Languages - Defining India’s Internet
,” which provides rich insights on what we need to do together as an Industry to bring the Internet alive for every Indian.
Source: *Indian Languages - Defining India’s Internet” Report
Posted by Barak Turovsky, Group Product Manager, Google Translate
Bridging the Quality Education Gap in India
April 6, 2017
n the 17 years since the UN, as part of its Millennium Development Goals, identified getting students into the classroom as one of the biggest challenges to education,
the number of kids who aren’t in school has reduced by 50%
. Thanks to t
argeted intervention and political will,
number of children
who are in school has reached 90% worldwide
. However, many students, still aren’t acquiring basic skills.
Some 130 million children globally complete
four years of school without learning to read or add and subtract.
It’s not very different in India. Even as India‘s literacy rate has made significant gains over the last few years, learning levels have not necessarily kept up. There are over
260 million children
enrolled in schools, but about half of all fifth graders still cannot re
ad a simple text or do basic arithmetic. The most recent
ASER study by Pratham
shows that only 43% of Std III students are able to read a Std I level text and less than 30% of Std III children can do a 2-digit subtraction. The reasons behind this lag in learning levels are varied and complex, but limited access to quality materials, under-resourced teachers, and barriers to learning outside the classroom are among the many challenges.
At Google we believe that technology can help bridge the gaps that block educational resources from reaching students, while also making those resources more engaging, interactive and effective.
Google has never taken a conventional approach to solving problems, and neither does Google.org, our philanthropic arm. Our approach is to find the most promising nonprofits and put the best of Google—our philanthropy, our people, our products—to work, helping them close this worldwide gap in learning and academic opportunity.
Google.org, is expanding its commitment to help more children reach their potential and bridge the education gap through a global $50 million grant commitment. This funding will go towards supporting nonprofits that are building tech-based learning solutions.
Part of the global grant, US$8.4 million will be given to four NGOs in India,
Million Sparks Foundation
Pratham Books StoryWeaver
Pratham Education Foundation
over the next two years
to expand and scale the work they are doing to enhance the learning experience for students in the classroom.
These organizations are using technology in innovative ways to improve the quality of education by boosting access to quality materials, helping to develop teachers, and enabling learning beyond the classroom. Read more how they’re doing this below.
Pratham Books - StoryWeaver
($3.6 million in India) - Creating an open-sourced platform for translating books
Pratham Books has created StoryWeaver, an online platform whose open source technology connects readers, authors, illustrators, and translators to create free stories that can be translated, remixed, and even newly authored. Parents and teachers can easily find stories that fit their students’ reading level and language preferences, and all StoryWeaver content is free and can be easily accessed, downloaded, or printed.
Today StoryWeaver offers books in over 60 languages. With support from Google.org, Pratham Books aims to dramatically increase StoryWeaver’s reach, aiming for more than 500,000 active users and 20,000 titles.
Pratham Education Foundation
($3.1 million in India) - Giving kids self-driven, offline lessons to learn in any environment
Pratham’s Hybrid Learning Program empowers students to use self-driven, tablet-based curricula to learn outside of the classroom. Students ranging from grade 5 to 8 self-organize into groups of five. Two groups share a tablet, and children in each group decide together what content they’d like to learn. Along with learning science, English and math, students also learn how to work collaboratively with their peers and foster their curiosity.
The data collected from the program will help Pratham and the broader sector better understand how a student-focused model can accompany more traditional teacher-focused models, with the hope of scaling these methodologies across India’s rural school ecosystem.
Million Sparks Foundation
($1.2 million in India) - Connecting teachers to create a knowledge sharing community
A shortage of qualified, high-performing teachers in India’s public and low-cost private schools continues to affect educational quality for India’s low-income students. In 2015, only 13.5% of teachers passed the India Central Teacher Eligibility Test. But when 1 in 7 public schools lack the minimum number of teachers, most teachers remain in the classroom regardless of performance.
The Million Sparks Foundation is addressing these challenges with ChalkLit, a digital content platform and social community whose lesson plans, learning modules, videos, support high caliber teaching. ChalkLit content is divided into bite-sized chunks and organized to align with public curriculum standards, and accessible by teachers via a lightweight mobile app built for users with limited connectivity.
(US$ 500K for India as part of the $5 million across India, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa) - Taking digital content offline for students without internet
The organization has built a free open-source software to bring online materials—including books, video tutorials and quizzes—to the 4.3 billion people who lack consistent access to the internet. Their new platform, Kolibri, runs on numerous devices and helps educators access, organize and customize digital content, even in the most remote locations.
With their local partners Motivation for Excellence, the team aims at bridging the digital divide by bringing the online learning revolution offline. The Nalanda Project is an in-class technology intervention that empowers students to take charge of their learning and allows teachers to efficiently deliver classroom instruction.
When we support an organization, we commit more than just our funding—we bring these grantees into the company and give them access to our best thinkers. Google engineers volunteer their skills and time to help our grantees take their products to the next level, and Google provides products and tools help them scale solutions. And, always, we share what we learn with the rest of the nonprofit sector; we believe technology solutions that can help anyone ought to belong to everyone.
We look forward to supporting the impact that these programs will have on students and educators across India, and to expanding our efforts throughout the next year. Together we look forward to applying technology to improve learning outcomes for the country’s future generations.
Posted by Nick Cain,
Program Manager, Education, Google.org
Launching Google Play Music Subscription in India
April 6, 2017
From that brisk pop to fuel your morning exercise routine to those perfect romantic ballads that set the mood for a great date night, Google Play Music knows just how important it is to have the right soundtrack for every moment of your life.
To help you find the best music for any moment, today, we’re launching subscription services in Google Play Music India — a fresh take on music streaming that is smarter and easier to use.
Listen to music in a number of different languages, from Hindi to English, Tamil to Malayalam or Kannada. Upload up to 50,000 of your own songs, and access them from any device with your Google Account. Or try a subscription to unlock everything: offline listening and on-demand access to our full catalogue of over 40 million local and international hits. Sign up now and get a free trial on
MUSIC THAT GETS YOU
To provide rich music recommendations based on Google’s understanding of your world, we’ve plugged into the contextual tools that power Google products. To deliver that, Google Play Music uses machine learning to figure out what music you like and then mixes in signals like location, activity, and the weather along with hand-picked playlists to personalize music for wherever you are and whenever you want tunes. When you opt in, we’ll deliver personalized music based on why you are listening — relaxing at home, powering through at work, exploring new cities, and everything in between. Your workout music is front and center as you walk into the gym, a sunset soundtrack appears just as the sky goes pink, and tunes for focusing turn up at the library.
BOLLYWOOD OLDIES AND NEW FAVOURITES
With a catalogue of over 40 million local and international hits, Google Play Music lets you find music by language or by your favourite Bollywood actresses and music directors, and even lets you watch their videos right in the same app. Google Play Music is your pocket-sized DJ, who pays attention not only to what artists and genres you like from around the world, but also to when you like it, so the music that you care about now is always at the top of your screen.
PLAYLISTS ON THE GO
Google Play Music lets you stream music using minimal data on mobile. No connection? No problem. When you subscribe, you can enjoy offline listening, and be prepped with an offline playlist based on what you’ve listened to recently, even if you forgot to download them ahead of time.
Enjoy a discounted subscription offer of 89 INR per month if you sign up within the first 45 days.
Posted by Elias Roman, Lead Product Manager, Google Play Music
Google Play Music
YouTube Go beta launches in India
April 5, 2017
In last September’s Google for India event we
announced YouTube Go
, our YouTube app reimagined for the next generation of YouTube users. Today, after months of expanded testing and refinement, we’re happy to announce that we’re making the beta version of YouTube Go available for download on the
Google Play Store in India
You’ll recall that every aspect of YouTube Go was designed from the ground up, with four main principles in mind: It’s
, with fresh and relevant video recommendations tailored to your preferences; the app is designed to be
and improve the experience of watching videos on a slower network; it gives you more
control over data
usage, by providing choice and transparency into the amount of data spent on streaming or saving videos. And finally, it’s
, allowing you to share videos quickly and easily with friends nearby.
Key features of YouTube Go include:
A home built for you:
YouTube Go home screen features trending and popular videos in your area, so that you can find and discover videos that you and your community care about.
Preview videos before you save or watch:
On YouTube Go we’ll show you a preview of the video when you tap on a thumbnail, giving you a better sense of what the video is about before you decide if you want to watch it.
Choose your resolution when saving or streaming videos
: You can choose to save a video for offline viewing later or stream it now. And we also allow you to choose the amount of data you’d like to spend on that video.
Share videos with friends nearby:
Share videos with friends and family nearby without using any data. You can send and receive videos instantly and offline with others using the YouTube Go app.
To get us to this point, we’ve worked hard on refining the features that you’ve inspired us to build, gaining new insights along the way. Some things we’ve learned in the run-up to this beta release include making the home screen fresher and more relevant for users, so they can find amazing videos easily. We’ve also worked hard behind the scenes to make sharing videos with nearby friends an even more seamless experience, and ensuring that the app works well across a wide range of phones and connectivity. While the app is in its beta release, we’ll continue to listen to your feedback and improve the app before launching more broadly. We’ll also be holding several activities in Udaipur over the upcoming weeks to glean more insights from users on the ground.
If you’re in India, we hope you download the beta from the
Google Play store
today, and let us know what you think by leaving your feedback within the app. As before, if you'd like to find out when YouTube Go is fully ready, you can sign up at
With the rapid transformation sweeping India’s mobile internet landscape, we know there will be an even greater demand for a fast and accessible video app. Thank you for continually inspiring us to build better products for the next generation, and to helping us make YouTube Go the best video app for you.
Posted by Jay Akkad, Product Manager, YouTube, recently watched “
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