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Google Bolo launched in India, helps children improve their reading skills

Google is trying to expanding its presence in the Indian market, especially in the rural regions. In a bid to get attention of younger population, Google has launched its new app – Google Bolo.

The app is aimed at helping primary school children learn or improve Hindi and English reading skills. It comes with a personalized reading tutor, Diya, which uses the same text-to-speech tech found in Google Assistant to hear kids’ pronunciation and help them improve. 

Google Bolo is first launched in India and is available for free of cost from Google Play Store, without any ads. The company has also said that the app doesn’t send out any data. While it collects  images and voice data from the app but that is stored locally and is meant to help in the functioning of the application. 

The Google Bolo app is designed to work offline as network connectivity is a major issue in many rural regions. Further, the Bolo app can also be used by multiple children, as well, and will adjust itself to their own reading levels and gives them a personalized experience. 

The company said that it has been piloting Bolo with over 900 children in 200 villages in UP with the help of ASER Centre, a research and assessment unit of the Pratham Education Foundation, and has achieved positive results with 64 percent students showing improvements.

Google adds that all the reading material on the app is free and it is working with other companies to bring more content to Bolo. It is working with partners like Kaivalya, Room to Read, Saajha, and Pratham to further refine it and take the app to more children. 

Currently, Bolo has over 50 stories in Hindi and 40 in English and offers word games, rewards, and badges to keep children engaged. It is also working to add support for more Indic languages to Bolo, but the company did not share a timeline for the same.

The Google Bolo app can be downloaded from Google Play and it works with all Android phones running version 4.4 KitKat or above. It comes with 16 pre-loaded stories and more can be downloaded from the app itself. The overall size of the app is less than 50MB and it comes with the speech modules and the entire experience.