Google Launches Google's Bolo (India-Only Language) App For Rural Children

Google Bolo app launch

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 Google Bolo app includes an assistant called "Diya", which encourages children with their reading and understanding skills.

Another interesting thing about the app is that it works even when offline, so children can just focus on reading and to make sure there is no distraction, Google has made this Bolo app completely ads free. The app has been created to make sure that children don't need any help in using it and can read all by themselves.

"We believe that technology can be a powerful enabler, and we want to ensure that students, parents, teachers and the education ecosystem, benefit from it".

Google Bolo
Google launches ‘Bolo’ to tutor children to read Hindi, English

Children can choose from a large variety of engaging stories which have been extracted from Storyweaver and features up to 40 stories in English and 50 stories in Hindi. Diya not only explains the meaning of the word but also helps in the pronunciation of each letter for the children in the sentence or a word.

Google said it has been piloting Bolo with over 900 children in 200 villages in Uttar Pradesh with the help of ASER Centre, a research and assessment unit of Pratham Education Foundation. Google notes that it does collect images and voice data from the app but that is stored locally and is meant to help in the functioning of the application. "With Bolo we wanted to bring a similar experience to anyone who needs it, via their smartphone". The three-month pilot project which ended in January 2019, showed that 64% of pilot participants with access to the app showed an improvement in reading proficiency.

Google is working with several non-profit partners who have extensive experience of working in this space to take Bolo to more children across the country. The app will automatically increase the difficulty level of recommended stories which will be adjusted according to one's reading skills over the course of time. Google has also stated that more stories will be added by other partners in the near future. So, if a family has two siblings, they can both use the app and track their individual progress. The Google Bolo app is available for download on the Google Play Store. Any personal data associated with app stays on the device.

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