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Google Bolo launches in India to help children improve reading skills

Mar 6, 2019, 6:30 am

Google India has announced ‘Bolo’, a speech-based reading-tutor app, which can help primary students learn how to read and improve their reading skills, and thereby contribute to the betterment of education facilities available for Indian primary grade students and language learners alike.

The app is currently optimized for native Hindi speakers and plans to incorporate additional languages later on in the near future.

Bolo is powered by Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology. The app even comes with an inbuilt “reading buddy” called ‘Diya’ who acts as a tutor to a child reading aloud, aiding students, explaining to them certain relevant stuff, rectifying the mistakes they make, and providing positive feedback. The app also includes word games which children can play and earn in-app rewards and badges to make learning fun.

Google Bolo will contain a large variety of reading material, which is free to be accessed, and initially will include 50 Hindi stories and 40 English stories from Storyweaver.org.in, with additional reading material to be added by other partners.

Moreover, the app buddy can read aloud texts and even explain the meaning of the English text in Hindi.

Designed in accordance with children’s safety and security, Google Bolo contains multiple-accounts facility and can track individual progress and accordingly recommend difficulty level.

Google Bolo works both online and offline and is completely free of advertisements.

All Android smartphones using Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) and higher can access the ‘Bolo’ app by downloading it from the Google Play Store.

For the past few months, Google India has been working with ASER Center to spread ‘Bolo’ across 200 villages in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, where they found improvement in 64% primary grade students spanning the duration of 3 months. Now, Google India rolls out the app to the whole of India under an open beta program.

Google India plans to improve Bolo and extend their reach by working with four non-profit organizations- Kaivalya Education Foundation – a Piramal Initiative, Pratham Education Foundation, Room to Read, and Saajha.

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