Google launches updates, products for Indonesia
By Yunnie Marzuki December 10, 2018
- Seeks to empower the digital economy by growing talent, supporting SMEs
- Wizphone is the first phone made by Indonesians with Google Assistant built-in
AT ITS third annual “Google for Indonesia” event, the tech giant announced a slew of products and partnerships to help Indonesians “move forward” with ease in the digital economy.
Key launches include Jobs on Google Search to help job seekers find and stay on top of relevant job postings; Google Go is an app that helps people discover the best of the internet; and Google Assistant on the WizPhone, is the first feature phone made by Indonesians with Google Assistant built-in.
On Jobs on Google Search, a search for job vacancies will provides listings from across the web, with the ability to organise them by different criteria including job type, industry, or city. Job seekers can also receive alerts about relevant job openings.
Google Search director Ken Tokusei said, “We have already helped connect over 100 million people in many countries to job listings, and we are really excited about the impact it will bring to Indonesia. We will also work closely with job portal providers to deliver the right information.”
Tokusei also introduced a new Search feature that offers easier access to information for Indonesians. Google collaborated with Wikipedia to automatically translate English-only content into Bahasa Indonesia using Google’s AI-powered neural machine translation system.
“More than half of all content online is available in English, but less than 1% of the web’s content is in Bahasa Indonesia. To help close this gap, we are collaborating with Wikipedia on a new way to make English-only content accessible and useful for Indonesians.”
The tech company also launched Google Go, a new AI-powered all-in-one app for the internet that aims to help new smartphone owners using the web for the first time discover websites and apps easily.
It will showcase the latest Search trends as well as Indonesia’s most popular apps and websites. Enabling the app is as easy as turning on the TV or listening to the radio. Simply press “play” on any website, and Google Go will read the text out loud, highlighting each word in real-time.
Google Go uses AI to help identify the right parts of the page to read and generate a natural, smooth experience even on 2G connections. The app has launched on Google Play Store and will come installed on all Android Oreo Go edition devices.
“The Android Go ecosystem was created to provide users the same access at a lower price point in terms of devices and internet connection,” said Tokusei.
Last year, Google launched YouTube Go, a YouTube mobile app designed from the ground up, which brings the power of video to mobile users in a way that is more conscious of their data and connectivity.
Updates on Google Assistant
Google Assistant now also enables users to book a ride through ride-hailing apps such as Go-Jek or Grab that are available on their smartphones, without the hassle of typing in address details.
Google Assistant engineering lead Scott Huffman introduced some of the new features on namely, Indosat API integration which allows Indosat customers to get help from their Assistant to manage their mobile data and stay on top of monthly bills.
News Briefings, where Google partners five Indonesian media outlet, offers users relevant news directly from Assistant.
Google also launched Wizphone, the first phone made by Indonesians with Google Assistant built-in. Created in partnership between WizPhone and Alfamart, the phone runs on KaiOS, a light mobile operating system which brings powerful apps and services onto feature phones.
The device is rolling out soon to Alfamart stores across the country, retailing at 99,000 rupiah (US$6.80).
On the move with Google Maps
Google Maps head of product Krish Vitaldevara announced new features on Maps, including one to track the location of buses in real-time, share real-time location, and get notifications of when it’s time to get off the bus.
Krish also unveiled the new Google My Business app, which is designed to help business owners get more customers by standing out on Google and connecting with their users.
Businesses can create posts that will appear on their business profile on Google Search and Maps, share product updates, offers, and even events.
Additionally, they can be followed by customers and engage with them through messages, bookings, special deals and reviews.
Empowering Indonesia’s digital economy
Google is expanding its digital training programmes to help Indonesian app developers, small businesses, and female entrepreneurs thrive.
Google Indonesia managing director Randy Jusuf says that Google has trained 110,000 developers since 2016 and worked with more than 473 universities to provide curriculum for one semester.
“With over half of the population now having access to the internet, a booming digital economy, and the rise of Indonesian startups, this country is on the cusp of becoming a digital powerhouse. At Google, we are proud to play our part in the digital transformation of Indonesia.”
It also has trained up to one million SMEs, and aims to double the number by 2020. For it’s digital literacy efforts, Google granted US$875,000 from its philanthropic arm, Google.org, to Maarif Institute, Peace Generation, RuangGuru, and Love Frankie to teach over 12,000 students to be champions of tolerance, multiculturalism, and positivity.
In order to fight fake news, Google rolled out a training programme called Google News Initiative for 2,000 journalists and targets to train up to 3,000 journalists next year.