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.
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.
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.
Elon Musk Works 120 Hours a Week, Stays In Factory For 4 Days
In an interview with The New York Times, Elon Musk said he has been working 120 hours a week. It is more than three times the national average work week, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As the CEO of two major companies, Tesla and SpaceX, Musk seems to be having a hard time delegating his work. This is making him overworked.
“The classic problem as an entrepreneur is that they have a hard time delegating,” Robert Pozen senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management. “But that’s really crazy. Recruiting other executives is critical, so is dealing with customers and dealing with regulators. Those are functions that only the top founders can do.”
Silicon Valley has been criticized for glorifying overworking. “A culture of overwork is damaging because it turns brief binges of hard work into a long-term strategy, and, worse still, an expectation. When managers start measuring the worth of their employees according to how quickly they return emails at 3 a.m., that particular work culture is broken,” said Adam Alter, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business.
Musk realised that this behaviour is harmful and has been affecting his life drastically.
“There were times when I didn’t leave the factory for three or four days – days when I didn’t go outside,” Musk said. “This has really come at the expense of seeing my kids. And seeing friends.”
Elon Musk also revealed that he has not been on vacation since 2001, he has spent his most recent birthday at work. Musk added, he has trouble sleeping “it is often a choice of no sleep or Ambien.”
It has been reported that the Tesla executives are looking for a number two, to take on some of Musk’s daily responsibilities. Musk said that he is not aware of this search and has no plans to step away from his many roles at Tesla.
As the CEO of two major companies, Musk is known to keep an intense daily routine. Inc. previously reported that the CEO ignores most phone calls, abstains from getting stuck dealing with emails, and breaks his entire day into a series of five-minute slots. But apparently, he’s still there for 120 hours a week.
Google Parent invests $ 375 Million In Oscar Health
Google’s parent company, Alphabet has invested $ 375 million in an insurance startup company, Oscar Health.
Post the investment, Alphabet will own 10% of the stake in the startup. Alphabet through its venture firm CapitalG and the life sciences division Verily participated in a $ 165 million funding round for Oscar Health.
Founded in 2012, Oscar Health is a technology-focused health insurance company that is headquartered in New York City.
Oscar Health co-founder and CEO Mario Schlosser said, “it’s fantastic for us because it will really allow us to focus fully on the core model we’ve been building for the past 6 years, which is: use technology, use data, use design, use a human approach to build a very different health care experience,”
The startup offers health coverage through ObamaCare in six states. Oscar Health is planning to introduce new innovation like providing a “concierge” team, which includes a nurse. The nurse will help the people enrolled to find suitable doctors.
Schlosser announced the news in an interview, “We can hire more engineers, we can hire more data scientists, more product designers, more smart clinicians who can think about health care a different way. It’s the acceleration of that product roadmap that fascinates us the most. The second, more tangible piece, is that we’re launching new product lines.”
The co founder of Oscar Health, is Josh Kushner, the brother of Jared Kushner. Jared Kushner is Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser. This relationship is quite intriguing looking at Oscar Health’s participation in ObamaCare.
Schlosser in an interview said Josh Kushner’s connection to Trump “does not affect what we do.” He added, “Whatever happened in the press, whatever happens on the regulatory side, I have personally always thought, and I think the company shares in this, that if we have something that leads to lower costs and happier members in some shape or form we’ll be able to turn this into a successful company.”
No Work Between 6 PM – 8 AM At Amazon India
Amit Agrawal, CEO of Amazon India said “No business decision should be made between 6 PM – 8 AM” in an email to the senior team members of Amazon. Agrawal asked members of the Amazon India team to maintain a healthy “work-life harmony.” This would encourage the employees to be more productive during work hours.
This announcement comes after Amazon was criticised at an international level for over working their employees. Amazon India is making changes for the better and is building a wholesome relationship with their employees with this recent announcement.
This decision might bring about a change in the Indian work culture as Indian’s on an average work 8.1 hours more than any employee from Europe and North America. Due to this destructive relationship of Indians with their work, it is appreciated Amazon India took this step to recognise the problem and address it head on.
It is not clear if this decision was made by Agrawal solely or was ordered by the company’s global leadership. Amazon recently listed 237 new “work from home” positions in and outside of the US, 235 of which are full time. By the looks of it, Amazon is actively tackling its toxic work culture and might succeed in so doing.
According to a study from Switzerland’s University of Zurich and the U. S., University of South Florida, people who do not separate work life and personal life, tend to be more exhausted. This hinders their productivity and creativity. “Organizational policy and culture should be adjusted to help employees manage their work-non-work boundaries in a way that does not impair their well-being,” lead study author Ariane Wepfer said.“ After all, impaired well-being goes hand in hand with reduced productivity and reduced creativity” Wepfer added.
What do you think about this announcement by Amazon India? Do you agree with it? Let us know in the comment section below!
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