Understanding the importance of literacy, Google launched a new app called “Google Bolo”, exclusively for India to help primary grade children develop English and Hindi reading skills – for free, without the need of parent supervision, or internet.
Google Bolo is meant for Indian kids to be able to read better in English and Hindi with the help of personalized reading tutor, Diya – an alike of Google Assistant. The app was launched on Wednesday and is now available in India – for free, no ads, no privacy concerns and works offline without internet – once installed in smart device. The app is loaded with over 50 stories in Hindi, 40 in English, a wide range of word games, rewards, and badges to keep the kids engaged while they learn to read.
The best part however, is the vocal assistant or “reading buddy” Diya, who uses same text-to-speech technology as Google Assistant does – and hence, help out kids to pronounce words and sentences much better. Diya can also explain meaning of words if the learners who don’t understand them, with predefined easy explanations. Since it works offline, the chances of kids being distracted by something else on the internet cuts down, and it also removes the need of parent supervision. What’s more, Google has promised that it will not collect any data on children through the app – not even voice samples – it is that humble and we cannot ask for more.
Prior to the launch, Google had tested the Google Bolo app by piloting it across over 900 children in 200 villages in Uttar Pradesh, by collaborating with ASER Centre, a research and assessment unit of Pratham Education Foundation. As per ASER Centre reports, 64% children who had participated in the pilot session of Google Bolo had shown improvements in reading skills within just three months. So Bolo will “encourage and engage kids so their love for reading grows and it becomes a daily habit” – all through technology.