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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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Google, smart compose
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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HP Considering India as a Key Focus Area

India is key focus area, 3D printers next big thing

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HP India
HP unveils 65-inch gaming display with soundbar at CES 2019. Flickr

India is a very attractive market with high brand recognition for a computer hardware producer like HP, said HP Inc’s President for Asia Pacific and Japan, Tian Chong Ng.

The Asia Pacific region — in which India is a key focus area — has been the fastest growing for HP and provided 16 per cent revenue growth last year.

In Q1 of FY2019 it registered 8 per cent growth year-on-year, said Ng in the course of the HP Reinvent 2019 conference, the company’s largest global partner event.

One reason for that is — India – and also the Asia Pacific region — tick marks on demographics trends which provide clear wins for HP: rapid urbanisation and more millennials are joining the work force.

While HP is very positive on India and recognises its potential, there are no plans yet for setting up a manufacturing base in India. Ng said it already has a manufacturing base in China apart from others in Vietnam, Thailand and Japan.

HP
HP. (IANS)

“There is an existing ecosystem in China and we don’t have plans for setting up a manufacturing base in India, he said.

One focus area is the 3D printer, which offers HP great opportunity. Construction and automotive sectors are the focus areas here. Meanwhile, an MoU has been signed with the Andhra Pradesh government.

“To be successful in India demands that we understand it,” he said.

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HP is also pushing gaming in a big way. However, this has not led to any thinking for manufacturing mobile phones in India, despite the high number of gamers in the country spurred by affordable android phones and cheap data.

“Our strength is the PC business and we offer a whole family of products in that space,” Ng said. (IANS)