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Google Launches Google Go, Android Oreo Go And Maps Update

Ramya GovindRaj

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Google, one of the worlds largest technology giants announced multiple new launches today at its annual “Google for India” event. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

Google Maps Update
The technology giant launched a new feature in the Indian version of Google Maps for users traveling on motorbikes. The latest update, Motorcycle Mode, will alert users in the case on any roadblock or parking related issues near their destination.

The new feature is placed alongside the earlier alternatives car, foot, public transport and train. In order to show the Estimated Time Of Arrival (ETA,) the company is using the data collected exclusively from the riders and not the data collected from four wheelers commuting on the road. Google is also customizing routing and voice guided navigation for the Indian market and the update is being rolled out to the Google Maps app. The feature seeks to help bikers in the country find the route most suitable for their vehicles. In a country like India, where a substantial chunk of the country’s workforce travels on motorbikes, launching such a service will help loads of travelers.

Google Go
To give unified Google experience to Internet users with low end handsets the company also launched Google Go. The app will provide users access to multiple Google services such as Search, Voice Search, GIFs, YouTube, Translate and Maps. According to the company, there are nearly 400 million Internet users in India consuming over 4GB of data per month.

Speaking at the company’s third annual “Google for India” event, Google’s Vice President of South East Asia and India, Rajan Anandan said, “There are 230 million Indian language users online on Google today and 170 million of them are using our messaging service. Yet, we have over 900 million Indians who aren’t connected to Internet. Our mission is connectivity for every Indian. We’ll stay focused until every single Indian is connected.”

Android Oreo Go
Google also revealed a new operating system for low cost smartphones, Android Oreo Go, to help improve the experience on entry level phones. Android Go will be available for any handset with 512MB to 1GB of RAM. The new update will be available over the next few months and will have an average 15 % faster app startup time. All the preloaded apps will also be optimized to take up 50%  less space on the available storage and users will also be able to store an extra 1,000 photos.

Files Go
After beta testing the Files Go feature last month, Google officially launched the new feature to help free up space on smartphones. Files Go is pre installed on Go edition devices and seeks to help users find files faster and share files offline with people in the vicinity. Files Go is also equipped to create a closed network accessible only by approved smartphones and is said to be 200 times faster than Bluetooth transfers.

With multiple announcements catering specifically to the Indian market, it seems like Google is very serious about its expansion in the country. The Vice President of the Next Billion Users, Caesar Sengupta also added Google is now working on offering WiFi hotspots across Indian cities. 

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SoftBank To Sell Off Entire Stake In Flipkart

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SoftBank Group Corp., a Japanese multinational conglomerate, is in talks to sell off its entire stake in Flipkart. In a recent announcement, SoftBank confirmed that it will sell its stake of 23.6 % in the e tailer giant Flipkart, post the Walmart acquisition.

SoftBank spokesperson stated, SoftBank confirms the sale of its entire stake in Flipkart to Walmart.

The CEO Masayoshi Son, said its investment in the Indian e commerce Flipkart, was worth around $ 4 billion. The SoftBank Vision Fund also invested $ 30 billion in startups, last year. At a recent press conference held in Tokyo, Masayoshi disclosed that SoftBank’s $ 2.5 billion stake in Flipkart which was picked up last year, would be now worth $ 4 billion if it chooses to exit the firm. As the SoftBank’s fund is registered in Jersey, USA, there is no Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) as a buffer. However, SoftBank has now decided to sell the stake and work out the tax issues. SoftBank was earlier in discussions as well in order to stay invested in Flipkart and delay the sale due to tax issues related to short term capital gains.

 

According to a source, Walmart’s price implies Flipkart’s operating losses over the 18 months starting in August would be close to $ 2 billion. The overall hit to Walmart’s earnings from the Flipkart deal, including Flipkart’s losses, will be between $ 2.5 billion and $ 2.7 billion.

In the next coming years, Walmart’s approach toward Flipkart’s financial activities is likely to be determined by its investors in the United States. However, Walmart’s stock fell by 4% on the day it announced the Flipkart acquisition.

The buzz is SoftBank is also looking forward to exploring other avenues since it is not willing to miss out on Indian e commerce industry. Walmart also claims that SoftBank’s decision of selling its stake in Flipkart, will not make a major difference to its future plans for Flipkart.

 

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Netherlands To Setup ‘Startup Link’ In Collaboration With India

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The Prime Minister of Netherlands, Mark Rutte is all set to visit Bengaluru on 25 May.

The Country wants to strengthen  the innovation ecosystem with India efficiently. This comprises the setting up of Startup Link in India. Startup Link is an umbrella initiative in order to help Dutch startups explore the Indian market. This trip for Mark Rutte plays a vital role in pertaining to Netherland’s focus toward India.

It could also be understood by the fact  with a 120 member business trade delegation, with two ministers and the mayor of the Hague to Bengaluru, the Netherlands-India delegate is the country’s largest delegate to any foreign country!

Even larger than that of Netherland’s recent visit to China.

The Netherlands Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag, is expected to launch the Indo-Dutch Startup Link Digital Hub, on 25 May.

According to a source, Consul General Jaap Werner stated,

The delegates will be visiting Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, signing a number of MoUs to promote technology and Innovations at all levels universities to SMEs and corporates. In Bengaluru alone, we are expecting to sign 15-20 MoUs. The Bengaluru visit will focus to strengthen the bilateral trades and relationships in the areas of healthcare, smart cities, life sciences, waste management and cybersecurity.

Recently, Netherlands also upgraded its Bengaluru, South India office to a fully operational Consulate General. It also amalgamated various ministerial departments under one roof.

The Senior Deputy Representative Consulate General Of Netherlands, Bengaluru, Meenakshi P.R., stated that the Consulate General would also help Dutch startups soft launch in Indian territory, specifically in Bengaluru.

She also added,  IoT, 3D Printing, cybersecurity and blockchain are some of the areas where the startups under startup link can collaborate.

Apart from that, the events on 25 May also include an ‘Innovation power lunch’ where the Dutch PM will meet 30 top Indian CEOs.

However, there are over 200 Netherlands companies operating in India. While India is the fourth largest investor in the Netherlands, the latter stands fifth in India.

There are plenty of opportunities and challenges to do business in the Indian market. India has been abuzz with Startup culture now!

 

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Google Launches YouTube Music Service

Startup Admin

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With more than 1 billion people visiting YouTube on a daily basis, it comes as no surprise that music is the most listened to service on the online streaming platform. With Netflix and Spotify gearing up to compete with YouTube, the new YouTube Music service comes as a refreshing change of pace.

To put it in simple words, YouTube Music is a service which lets you stream and play music, with discovery being a major part of the service. While Google Play lets you do the same, there are quite a few differences between the two services provided by Google. Unlike Google Play, YouTube Music lets you do more than stream music. The service gives you the remixes, covers, live versions and parodies YouTube hosts too, as well as music from people who do not have record or albums.

Furthermore, Google’s YouTube Music gives you music even with extremely vague key words. Not just that, it creates very specific playlists. For example, if you are at the airport, the app creates a relaxing and refreshing playlist perfect for traveling. With discovery playing such a major role in this new service, get ready to explore and experience music like never before!

“To preserve this incredible opportunity the music business has, we need competition in distribution,” said Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s head of music. “It’s not like it was 30 years ago, when some guy could rent a warehouse, buy a bunch of records and put a sign called Tower Records in front. Now you have to have a ton of engineers, a global footprint and a ton of money.” Scheduled to launch on 22 May, 2018, Google plans on integrating artificial intelligence into the music app! When it comes to the price, YouTube Music comes at $ 10 for a month. However, Google has not mentioned if there is going to be a family plan package (a service which both Netflix and Spotify offer.)

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