- Google Bolo is an India-first app
- The app is optimised for native Hindi speakers
- It comes with a reading buddy called Diya.
Google has launched a new education app in India called Bolo, which is designed to help primary-grade children learn to read in Hindi and English. Optimised for native Hindi speakers, Bolo comes with an in-app “reading buddy” called Diya to help encourage and aid its users while learning to read. The app is currently available on Google Play Store for free in beta version and works on all smartphones running Android 4.4 KitKat and higher.
“Bolo is designed as a reading-tutor app that helps primary grade students to improve their reading,” explained Google Product Manager Nitin Kashyap in a press release. “We have been piloting Bolo in 200 villages, and the early results are very encouraging. We are now actively working with a number of nonprofit partners to take it to more people across the country who could benefit from it.”
For installation, Bolo requires about 50MB of storage space on a smartphone. It can even be side-loaded, commented Kashyap after the product demo. Once installed it can run without an internet connection. Unlike most Google apps, Bolo can be used without signing in to an active Google account. To help the user learn to read, Bolo comes bundled with 50 stories in Hindi and 40 stories in English. Google plans to add more stories in the future. In addition, Bolo uses word games and in-app rewards to keep the user motivated to learn more.
Google has launched Bolo specifically for India in an effort to bridge the learning gap in education. During the product presentation, the company presented data collected from the annual ASER 2018 report to show that of all students enrolled in grade 5 in rural India, only about half of them can confidently read a grade 2-level textbook. The new Bolo app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store for free.