Once again in the process of targeting Indian Market Google has end up launching a learning app called Bolo for children. This app which is meant for elementary school aged students has used technologies like text-to-speech and speech recognition so that students can learn in whichever language they are comfortable, both Hindi and English.
A total of 40 stories in English and 50 stories in Hindi sourced from Storyweaver.ord.in is offered by the app Bolo. In order to get more stories in the collection the company might collaborate with more organizations in the future.
The Bolo app comes along with a study mate named “Diya”, who is there to guide and encourage the child every time they read aloud. Diya is available for the kids to respond with appropriate feedback. Not just this Diya can also read the text and dictate its meaning in Hindi. With every progress made in the app they get to play word games and with every win they achieve in-app rewards and badges with in return encourage them.
The app can be adjusted according to respective reading levels and can be used by multiple children. The best part about the app is that it can be used offline as well which is the major requirement in India where most parts of the nation internet access is not possible all the time.
Reportedly Google has been trialling the app in and across 200 villages in Uttar Pradesh with the help of a non-profit ASER Centre. The trialling turned showed a green signal when 64% of the children using the app could enhance their reading ability.
Students in the group with the app that is 39% reached the highest level of ASER’s reading assessment whereas students who reached the level without the app were only 28%. Even the parents reported improvement in their kids’ reading abilities.
According to a study conducted by ASER Centre a few years back India has one of the largest illiterate populations in the world where only 74 percent of the people are able to read. The study also found that almost half of the students in the fifth grade in rural state schools are unable to read second standard textbooks in 2014. By the end of 4 years since then the figure hasn’t changed much. In fact, still only half of the students studying in the 2nd grade can read according to ASER now reports.
While Google is contributing in education it is also worth being noted that the Google’s interest in improving India’s literacy metrics somehow is benefiting its bottom line too. As people will become literate enough, they will also start visiting google sites, using google products and view google ads.
This is not the first time, Google has contributed with lots of applications which were specially designed for the Indian Market like payment app Tez (Google Pay), A food delivery service, a blogging app, neighbourhood and communities, data-friendly versions of Youtube, Search and other popular services.
While the app, Bolo is being launched as an open beta, Google will continue working with its non-profit partners including Saajha, Room to Read, Pratham Education Foundation and Kaivalya Education Foundation :a Piramal Initiative so that more children can get acquainted with the app.
Bolo as an app can be easily found on the Google Play Store in India, and it works on Android smartphones which runs Android .4(Kit Kat) and higher. Currently the app has been optimized for native Hindi speakers.