Google has today announced that its AI-based search assistant for smartphones, Google Assistant, is set to come to the Reliance JioPhone. The voice-based tool has so far been available only for Android, iOS and Android Wear devices, using the capabilities of smartphones to offer control and enhanced functionality over the phone. After its announcement and launch in May 2016, this is the first time that the tool comes to a feature phone. Google Assistant will be available for the new Reliance JioPhone, and details on whether existing JioPhone users will receive the feature aren’t available as of now.
The tie-up with Reliance for the JioPhone signifies Google’s intent to make its products and services more accessible to the masses. It’s interesting to note that the JioPhone does have a voice-based assistant pre-installed that helps quickly place calls and send text messages using voice prompts. However, the inclusion of Google Assistant makes it possible to use voice commands for much more, including web searching, accessing information and web pages, among others. Google Assistant will be available in both English and Hindi.
The move helps Google gain access to millions of users that are and will be using the JioPhone. The device works with the Jio 4G mobile network, and offers users a feature-phone experience with the added benefits of certain data-dependent services. These include web-based texting, on-demand video and TV content and more. Google Assistant will also be able to use the 4G connectivity of the JioPhone to quickly and reliable access and deliver information using Google’s vast information resources.
The latest move from Google is part of a wider range of announcements meant to make Google’s services easier to access by the masses. India is considered a key market for the spread of internet-based services, thanks to the success and spread of Jio and increasing availability of internet services in rural and small-town India. Google also announced Google Go, Files Go, Android Oreo (Go Edition) and two-wheeler mode in Google Maps, all with a particular focus on making Google services easier to access in India.