Google establishes AI research laboratory in Bangalore

New Delhi, Sep 19 () Google said Thursday that it is creating an artificial intelligence research unit in Bengaluru while the tech giant seeks to continue developing products for India and bringing them to global markets.

Google Research India, the artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory, will focus on advancing fundamental research in computer science and artificial intelligence.

In addition to the Google team led by AI scientist Manish Gupta, the company will also partner with the research community across the country to focus on addressing challenges in fields such as medical care, agriculture and education.

We are incredibly inspired by India. With a world-class engineering talent, strong computer programs and a business drive, India has the potential to contribute to advances in artificial intelligence and its application to face great challenges, said Google Vice President Next Billion Users and Payments said Caeser Sengupta .

He added that the company is launching new products and adding features to existing ones to help even Internet users for the first time.

The future is not just about technology, but about inclusion, empowerment and economic opportunity. India inspires us, Sengupta said at the Google for India event.

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was also present at the event, said technology platforms such as Google must ensure that their products are safe for users.

They must safeguard people's privacy rights. In addition, they must make additional efforts to ensure that people do not abuse the system, he added.

Sengupta said that under his Saathi Internet program with Tata Trusts, around 80,000 'Saathis' have been trained, who in turn have trained 30 million women.

Sengupta said that in the last 12 months, Google Pay has grown more than three times to 67 million monthly active users, generating transactions worth more than USD 110 billion annually in merchants offline and online.

About two thirds of the transactions come from cities and towns of level II and III.

Google Pay, which competes with players such as Paytm and PhonePe, presents the 'Spot' platform that will allow merchants to create branded business experiences and reach new customers.

Google has already incorporated merchants such as UrbanClap, Goibibo, MakeMyTrip, RedBus, Eat.Fit and Oven Story through its early access program.

In addition, Google Pay is launching 'tokenized cards' in the coming weeks to offer a secure way to pay for things using a digital token on the phone instead of the actual card number.

Tokenized cards in Google Pay, which are already available in some countries of the world, will be implemented with Visa cards for banks that include HDFC, Axis, Kotak and Standard Chartered.

We will launch support to cover Mastercard and Rupay and more banks in the coming months, Sengupta said.

He added that Google Pay is also deepening support for small businesses through a new application called 'Google Pay for Business'.

This is a free application for small and medium merchants to allow digital payments where the verification process is done remotely.

Despite the massive growth in digital payments, a large majority of the more than 60 million small businesses in India still do not benefit from the growing digital economy, Sengupta said.

We hope that these initiatives help merchants to adopt digital payments with more confidence and contribute to the long-term growth of online financial services, he added.

Google has also launched 'Jobs' as 'Spot' in Google Pay to help job seekers find and prepare for entry-level positions.

Since several small merchants are present in Google Pay, it provides an easy mechanism to connect with potential employees. Machine learning is used to recommend jobs and training content to help job seekers prepare for interviews and learn new skills, Sengupta said.

Google also presents Job Spot with 24 initial retail partners such as 24Seven and Healthkart, delivery and logistics partners such as Swiggy, Zomato and Dunzo and hospitality providers such as Fabhotels.

In addition, it is partnering with the National Skills Development Corporation for its Skill India program.

Google said it is partnering with state BSNL to bring high-speed public WiFi to the villages of Gujarat, Bihar and Maharashtra. He had previously worked with Railtel to provide WiFi services at 400 train stations in the country.

He also announced his collaboration with Vodafone Idea for the 'Vodafone-Idea telephone line' to allow 2G clients of the main telecommunications companies to access information without using data. Users can call a toll-free number to get answers to questions ranging from sports scores to traffic conditions or even get help with homework. The service, with the support of Google Assistant, will be available in Hindi and English. SR SVK RUJ ANU ANU

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