Now, you can "call" Google Assistant from a feature phone
In a major move, Google Assistant will now be available in India via a phone call. Sounds regressive? Well, it does make a lot of business sense. The capability will let millions of Indians call Assistant for information, even those who don't have access to a smartphone, smart speaker, or the internet. Here's all about the phone line and the way to use it.
Google announced the phone line at yesterday's Google for India event and claimed that Assistant is already in testing phase in two cities - Lucknow and Kanpur. Manuel Bronstein, VP product management of Google Assistant, gave a demonstration of the service, noting how Indians can ring up the Assistant to seek information ranging from weather, news updates to sports scores.
Google has emphasized that Assistant's phone line works 24/7 in Hindi and English, without any additional charge. It will be available to people using any kind of phone but do note that the call would only go through if the caller is on Vodafone Idea's network. Google has partnered with the telco, and there's no saying if it will bring other operators onboard too.
Eligible Vodafone Idea users can seek information from Google Assistant by calling the toll-free number 000-800-9191-000. Once you ring up, the Assistant will greet you, provide the keypad responses for choosing the language, and ask you to say your query. From here, you can ask information on sports scores, weather forecasts, news, traffic conditions and the digital helper will respond.
The move from Google will make information access easier for people living in rural areas. The country has over 600 million smartphone users, but many still use feature phones or live in areas without internet connectivity. This move will ensure that these users have access to Google Assistant and the wide range of capabilities it brings on the table.