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Google Launches a Free App ‘Bolo’ For Kids in India

All the reading material on the app is completely free and the initial catalogue from Storyweaver.org.in includes 50 stories in Hindi and 40 in English,

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The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

Google on Wednesday launched a free app called “Bolo” that parents can download to help primary grade children improve their Hindi and English reading skills.

Launched in India first, the app is designed to work offline and comes with a built-in reading buddy, “Diya”, who encourages, aids, explains, and corrects the child, as they read aloud.

Google said it would not collect any data on children through the app and it would not have any advertisement.

“Nothing is ever sent to Google through the app – not even the voice samples,” Nitin Kashyap, Product Manager, Google India, told IANS, adding that the app is meant for just 10-15 minutes of daily use.

He added that because the app works offline, there is less chance that children would get distracted and they would start doing something else online.

“But should children get access to the phone or not is one area where we would not like to take a position on. That is a personal decision that every parent should make for their child,” Kashyap said.

Google
The Google logo is seen at a start-up campus in Paris, France, Feb. 15, 2018. VOA

Google said it has been piloting Bolo with over 900 children in 200 villages in Uttar Pradesh with the help of ASER Centre, a research and assessment unit of Pratham Education Foundation.

With the app, 64 per cent of children showed an improvement in reading proficiency in just three months, it added.

As per the ASER 2018 report, of all the students enrolled in grade 5 in rural India, only about half can confidently read a grade 2 level textbook. Lack of reading ability can significantly impact further education, and ultimately the children’s ability to realise their full potential.

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“With Bolo, we aim to encourage and engage kids so their love for reading grows and it becomes a daily habit. We believe that technology can be a powerful enabler, and we want to ensure that students, parents, teachers and the education ecosystem, benefit from it,” Kashyap said.

All the reading material on the app is completely free and the initial catalogue from Storyweaver.org.in includes 50 stories in Hindi and 40 in English, Google said, adding that it plans to add more stories soon. (IANS)

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Sony Unveils its New Premium Compact Camera in India

The RX100 VII camera is currently available across all Sony Centers, Alpha Flagship stores, Sony authorised dealers and major electronic stores across India

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Sony
Sony to restructure its mobile division as well.

Sony India on Monday refreshed its premium compact camera — the RX series with the new RX100 VII in India for Rs 96,990.

The flagship point-and-shoot camera uses technologies developed for Sony’s full-frame mirrorless camera Alpha 9, thus, achieving new levels of performance in a compact camera, in both stills and movie shooting.

“The RX100 VII sets new standards for both photography and videography in a compact camera and we are confident that its phenomenal speed and AF capabilities will be very well received by customers,” Hiroyuki Tokuno, Head of Digital Imaging Division, Sony India, said in a statement.

Sony Pictures, North Korean, Computer
Pedestrians walk past an exterior wall of Sony Pictures Studios in Los Angeles, California, Dec. 4, 2014. That year, Sony became the victim of a cyber hack by North Korean operatives from the Lazarus Group. VOA

“Users will feel the reassurance that they have the power of an Alpha 9 in their pocket, in compact form, so they can trust this camera in any given situation,” added Tokuno.

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The RX100 VII camera is currently available across all Sony Centers, Alpha Flagship stores, Sony authorised dealers and major electronic stores across India. (IANS)