Google on Thursday announced that users of its search service would be able to toggle between English and native languages of Tamil, Telugu, Bangla and Marathi, in addition to Hindi.
As typing an Indian language in its native script can be challenging, the technology company, in a blog post, said that it will show relevant content in supported Indian languages even if the query is typed in English. The functionality, it said, is aimed at native speakers and also bilingual users who are comfortable reading in English and a native language.
Additionally, the Mountain View, California-based company said that customers can use Google Maps in nine Indian languages, including Punjabi, Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Bangla, Tamil, Gujarati, Marathi and Hindi.
Its Assistant and Discover services will be available in Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi and Bangla, the blog said. Currently, a third of Google Assistant users in India utilise its features in their native tongues, while more than 50% of the content viewed on Google Discover is in Indian languages, the company said.
Google Lens, the company said, is more popular in India than any other country globally. Users in the country have translated more than 3 billion words -- mostly Hindi ones -- using the application in 2020, the company said.
The addition of these features was possible with the development of a multilingual model, called Multilingual Representations for Indian Languages (MuRIL). The model, which helps computer systems decipher local languages, provides support for sentimental analysis of text and for transliterated text -- for example, Hindi written in Roman script.
The company has made the MuRIL software open-source, allowing researchers, students, startups and other interested parties to build Indian language support to work alongside Google. MuRIL, which currently supports 16 Indian languages, is available on the Tensorflow Hub platform.