Just days after replacing Voice Match with Assistant lock screen access, Google has now launched the Google Bolo app aimed to educate kids in India and also improve their reading skills in Hindi and English.
Bolo is powered by Google's speech recognition and text-to-speech technology.
Diya, the reading buddy will offer personalized reading tutoring and assists the children at every step, giving both positive and corrective feedback. The reading material is free and uses content from from Storyweaver.org.in.
The move comes from Google after the annual ASER 2018 report that stated that 'of all students enrolled in grade 5 in rural India, only about half of them can confidently read a grade 2 level textbook'.
According to Google, the app helps children in reading by themselves, choosing from a large variety of engaging stories, enjoy as they learn, improve their reading ability at their own pace, understand English better and read without distraction.
This project has helped over 900 children in 200 villages in Uttar Pradesh in collaboration with ASER Center, that helps surveys the academic performance of children and reveals 64% of children were observed to have improved through the app. "We are now actively working with a number of nonprofit partners to take it to more people across the country who could benefit from it", Nitin Kashyap, Product Manager, Google India said in a press statement. It also lauds the reader when the reader reads all the lines correctly. Many children in rural India don't have this support.
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Because the app works offline, there is less chance of children getting distracted and start doing something else online, he said.
On privacy, Google says the app does not require any information to be entered by the user.
Google Bolo app works on mobiles with Android 4.4 or later OS versions. The company says it is not looking to monetize the app in any way and that it is completely safe for children to use.
The app features an animated character "Diya", who encourages children to read stories aloud and helps if the child is unable to pronounce a word. Diya not only explains the meaning of the word but also helps in the pronunciation of each letter for the children in the sentence or a word.
Bolo will get more content soon, said the company.
To ensure the safety of all the users, they are not asked to enter any personal details in this app to logged in.