Google is testing out a new effort to bring its voice assistant to cellphones without internet access. The India pilot program offers a 24/7 phone number that people can call to pose their questions to Google Assistant. The calls and the service are free to anyone on the Vodafone and Idea telecom networks.
According to Manuel Bronstein, a Google VP, this program could help the tech company to reach the hundreds of millions of people in India who don’t have smartphones or other Internet access.
In addition to the call-in platform, Google is also launching a multi-lingual feature to the voice platform. Interpreter mode promises to act as a real-time translator between people speaking two different languages. The feature will support for English and Hindi, and will debut in the coming months.
Google Assistant currently supports nine Indian languages, which could further aid the company’s efforts to expand in this market.