Amazon is testing a Hindi interface for its India mobile website, reports Economic Times. It has also incorporated Hindi in its text to speech service Amazon Polly. Amazon Internet Services or AISPL resells and markets the AWS Cloud services in India under which Polly is provided. Earlier this month, the company also launched Alexa Cleo, a software which would let Alexa users teach the AI Indic languages like Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Kannada, Bengali, Gujarati and Telugu.
We could not find any particular option where the current Amazon.in would be available in Hindi. This might be rolled out only internally or to a select test user base.
Flipkart recently acquired an Indic speech recognition startup Liv.ai. Google also unveiled Navlekhā, a platform for offline news publishers to digitise their print publications and made Google Assistant available in Hindi and Marathi.
The language necessity
The ample opportunity and competition for the ‘next billion users’ – as tech and ecommerce companies like to call it – is highly dependent on Indian users being able to access the internet in local languages. While the country’s internet user base is close to 500 million, only 125 million people speak English in India.
To that extent, a number of international companies have offered local language offerings including Quora in May, Google Assistant in February this year, Facebook on Android in 2017, Kindle tablets, SwiftKey and Bookmyshow in 2016 and Snapdeal in 2015.
Last November, Indic language localisation company Reverie Language Technologies came out with a report examining the state of Indic language usage on phones. According to the report, Hindi was the most used language, WhatsApp witnessed the highest Indic language usage via the Swalekh Flip app and WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and the native SMS app witnessed maximum Indic language usage.
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Check our #NAMAIndic 2017 event coverage here.