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Growing trend of online linguistic inclusion

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New Delhi: A growing trend of online linguistic inclusion is evident in India with e-commerce, education and social networking sites incorporating Indian languages in their sites. The move by the companies is aimed at reaching out to the vast unexplored market in India.

The latest entrants in this growing phenomenon are ‘Snapdeal’ and ‘Quickr’. In the past week ‘Snapdeal’ announced that its mobile interface will allow transactions to happen in 12 Indian languages. Furthermore, ‘Quickr’, online classified website, will allow consumers to browse, post ads, search and interact in seven vernacular languages, apart from English.

Admitting the need for linguistic inclusion Rohit Bansal, co-founder and COO, said, “India’s linguistic diversity is a huge opportunity to expand the market to include those users who would prefer to engage online in their native languages. Our decision to go multi-lingual is driven by the feedback that we have received from our users. We are sure this will enable millions of new users to join the digital commerce revolution that is sweeping across India,”

Social networking sites like Facebook and search engine Google have already made this facility available to its consumers.

This growing phenomenon is a result of the burgeoning online user base in India. A report by

A report by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), last month, said that “while Internet in India took more than a decade to move from 10 million to 100 million and 3 years from 100 to 200 million, it took only a year to move from 300 to 400 million users. Clearly, internet is mainstream in India today.”

It further added that “currently, India has the third largest Internet user base in the world but it is estimated that by December, India will overtake the US (as the second largest base). China currently leads with more than 600 million Internet users.”

Moreover, the need for providing the option for vernacular languages is the mushrooming internet users in rural India.

The rural mobile user base surged 99 percent to 80 million while the mobile Internet user base in urban India has grown 65 percent over last year to reach 197 million and is expected to grow to 87 million (rural) and 219 million (urban) respectively, the report said.

Other sectors have also sought to take advantage of this phenomenon. Khan Academy, a US-based non-profit organisation and an e-learning website, earlier this month announced that it would launch online tutorials in Hindi.

“We want to work in a way that allows us to reach to the most number of students in India,’’ said founder, Salman Khan.

Thinking on similar lines Google, in early November, announced the formation of an Indian Language Internet alliance (ILIA), in partnership with various Indian content providers. This alliance seeks to allow 300 million Indian language users to become more engaged.

“The ILIA will be critical to make Internet useful to all Indian users and not just English-speaking Indians. Through this initiative we hope to enable 300 million Indian language users to become highly engaged Internet users by 2017,” Google India Vice-President and Managing Director Rajan Anandan had said.

All of this points towards the increasing belief that a digital revolution in India cannot be realised without linguistically inclusive policies. The true potential of the internet can only be unleashed by taking it beyond the English-speaking metros in India. (With inputs from agencies) (Image courtesy: aspoonfulofimagination.files.wordpress.com)

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Facebook Is Planning To launch It’s Own Satellite ‘ATHENA’

A high altitude platform station (HAPS) system, Aquila's mission, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was to connect the world and help people who do not have online access all the opportunities of the Internet.

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Facebook is working on launching Athena, its own Internet satellite, early in 2019, the WIRED reported. Pixabay

 As part of its plan to connect billions of people who are still offline, Facebook is working on launching Athena, its own Internet satellite, early in 2019, the WIRED reported.

According to an application Facebook appears to have filed with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the name PointView Tech LLC, the project is designed to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world,” the report said on Friday.

Facebook, however, is not alone in aiming to increase Internet accessibility through satellites in low Earth orbit. Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Softbank-backed OneWeb are two other prominent names who have similar ambitions.

Facebook also confirmed that Athena is their project, according to the report in the WIRED.

“While we have nothing to share about specific projects at this time, we believe satellite technology will be an important enabler of the next generation of broadband infrastructure, making it possible to bring broadband connectivity to rural regions where Internet connectivity is lacking or non-existent,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying in a statement.

Facebook
The project is designed to “efficiently provide broadband access to unserved and underserved areas throughout the world,” the report said on Friday. Pixabay

While Facebook had long expressed its cherished goal of connecting billions of underserved people around the world, it has not had much success with two earlier projects.

In June, Facebook announced it decided to abandon its plan to develop high-flying solar-powered drones called Aquila that was aimed to deliver Internet to nearly four billion people in remote parts of the world.

A high altitude platform station (HAPS) system, Aquila’s mission, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, was to connect the world and help people who do not have online access all the opportunities of the Internet.

Facebook began Aquila project in 2014. In 2017, the solar-powered drone successfully completed the second full-scale test flight.

The social network also discontinued in 2017 a small helicopter drone project that could temporarily replace cellular services in emergency situations, The Verge reported.

Also Read-Facebook’s Helicopter Drone Project Got Grounded: Report

The idea was to send a helicopter equipped with telecommunications equipment hundreds of metres up in the air to be able to tether to fibre and power lines in places where wireless capacity was compromised due to disaster or other factors. (IANS)