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Google to launch a Nationwide Campaign “Digitally Safe Consumer” to raise Awareness about Online Safety in India

It will be a year-long campaign focusing on building capacities of consumer organizations, personnel of Consumer Affairs department and counsellors of National Consumer Helpline on Internet safety and related issues

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New Delhi, Dec 24, 2016:  In a partnership with the Ministry of Consumer Affairs Google India is going to launch a nationwide campaign “Digitally Safe Consumer” to raise awareness about online safety.

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It will be a year-long campaign focusing on building capacities of consumer organizations, personnel of Consumer Affairs department and counsellors of National Consumer Helpline on Internet safety and related issues, mentioned PTI.

In a statement Chetan Krishnaswamy, Google India Country head said,  “With the rapid increase in digitisation across all spheres, the message of internet safety needs to be integrated into the everyday tasks that the consumer undertakes online.”

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He also added that this initiative will add to Google’s existing campaigns guiding users to navigate the web and manage their digital lives safely and leverage the web to the fullest.

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Google with the help of partner agencies will work towards advocating digital security and privacy needs through workshops training about 500 people, including 250 consumer organisations across the country for providing training and information on online safety tools. Further, the local community along with these trainers will engage in spreading awareness regarding the need for internet safety.

The campaign has set its target for sending training materials to over 1,200 consumer organisations as well as consumer affairs department of every state and union territories by January 2017.

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Google Rolls Out Gender Specific Translation to Reduce Bias

Google said it is also thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations, though it is not part of this initial launch

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In a bid to reduce gender biases in its translation service, Google has started rolling out a feature that provides feminine and masculine translations for some gender-neutral words on the Google Translate website.

The feature is currently available only for a few languages, although Google plans to bring it to more languages soon.

So one can now translate single words from English to languages like French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish. As of now, translations for short phrases and sentences that mention a person in a gender-neutral way is available for the English and Turkish language pair.

“In the future, we plan to extend gender-specific translations to more languages, launch on other Translate surfaces like our iOS and Android apps, and address gender bias in features like query auto-complete,” James Kuczmarski, Product Manager, Google Translate, said in a blog post on Thursday.

Google Translate learns from hundreds of millions of already-translated examples from the web.

Historically, it has provided only one translation for a query, even if the translation could have either a feminine or masculine form.

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So when the model produced one translation, it inadvertently replicated gender biases that already existed.

For example, it would skew masculine for words like “strong” or “doctor,” and feminine for other words, like “nurse” or “beautiful.”

“Now you’ll get both a feminine and masculine translation for a single word – like ‘surgeon’ when translating from English into French, Italian, Portuguese or Spanish,” Kuczmarski said.

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“You’ll also get both translations when translating phrases and sentences from Turkish to English. For example, if you type ‘o bir doktor’ in Turkish, you’ll now get ‘she is a doctor’ and ‘he is a doctor’ as the gender-specific translations,” Kuczmarski said.

The new feature is part of Google’s efforts to promote fairness and reduce bias in Machine Learning.

Google said it is also thinking about how to address non-binary gender in translations, though it is not part of this initial launch. (IANS)