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Google introduces kids focused speech recognition app ‘Bolo’ in India


Google today launched a learning app Bolo for primary school children in India. The app is aimed at helping the students in learning and comprehension of Hindi and English in a fun way.

Bolo is the outcome of a pilot project carried out by Google with 900 children in over 200 villages in Uttar Pradesh.

It’s aimed mainly at kids residing in rural India, where there is a huge gap in learning, reading, and comprehension as compared to their urban counterparts. The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018 spoke about the quantum leap in learning that digital technology was capable of bringing about if deployed correctly.

Bolo, which is powered by Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology, aims to help young kids improve and expand their learning, comprehension, and vocabulary skills in Hindi and English using a range of games and tasks and rewards kids as they progress.

The app listens to kids’ sentences, reviews them, and an animated voice assistant — called Diya — suggests pronunciation and vocabulary corrections, wherever applicable. The app comes preloaded with nearly 90 stories from Storyweaver, the open source digital platform for stories from NGO Pratham Books. Children can engage with the app at a pace they are comfortable with and their progress can be shared with their parents.

Bolo is optimized to work for Hindi-speaking users and functions even when there is no data connection.

Google is releasing Bolo in India first and based on its performance, shall take it to other geographies in the future. The company said it also plans to add support for more languages soon.

For the development of Bolo, Google worked closely with four non-profit partners — Pratham Education Foundation, Room to Read, Saajha and Kaivalya Education Foundation.

The Indian online education market is on a growth spree and is estimated to touch $2 billion by the year 2021, as stated in a joint report in 2017 by Google and KPMG.

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