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Daily Digest Of Tech Policy News And Updates (May 6, 2021)

Bringing you quick updates on the tech space, policy-making and digital rights from India and across the globe.

Google will move to hybrid workweek post-pandemic

“We’ll move to a hybrid work week where most Googlers spend approximately three days in the office and two days wherever they work best,” the company announced through a blog post. The product areas and job function will determine which days of the week the employees will come together in the office. Out of its approximately 140,000 global employees, Google expects 60 percent to be part of this hybrid model. The company also said it will make it easier for employees to switch between offices or to work fully remotely.

Paytm launches new tool for finding vaccination slots

Paytm launched a new tool for users to find COVID vaccination slots and set for alerts when new slots open up for their locality, Paytm Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma tweeted today. The app will check for availability in real-time and alerts users via Paytm Chat when a new slot opens up. Paytm is most likely offering this service using CoWIN public APIs. MediaNama reported earlier on Wednesday on how the tech-savvy are gaining upper hand in finding vaccination slots using these public APIs. While the government has officially opened up the COVID19 vaccination program to people in the 18-45 age group, not many are able to get a vaccine because very few appointment slots have been opened for this age group. This scarcity has led developers to use the CoWIN public APIs to build solutions in the form of apps, websites, and scripts to help the tech-savvy grab all slots minutes after they are opened. But the usefulness of these apps has been thrown into question because of the new API changes made by the government that can delay data by up to 30 minutes.

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Koo Launches “Talk to Type” Feature for Indian Languages

Koo on Tuesday became the first social media platform in the world to launch “Talk to Type” feature for Indian languages. “Our mission at Koo is to connect India and enable a billion Indian voices to express themselves freely in their mother tongue. We will keep simplifying expression for anybody who wants to connect with their audiences. We are very excited to launch the “Talk to Type” feature that enables people to create without typing. All they have to do is hit a button and speak into their phone and the words will magically show up on the screen. It can’t get easier than this! We are the first social platform in the world to launch such a feature. You won’t find this on Facebook, Twitter or any other global platform,” Koo Co-founder Mayank Bidawatka said in a press release.

US Congressman lauds India’s decision to exclude China from 5G trials

Michael McCaul, US House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican, and China Task Force Chairman, praised India’s decision to exclude Chinese companies from participating in the country’s 5G networks, Mint reported today. “India’s decision to exclude Huawei and ZTE from its 5G trials is good news for the people of India and the world. People’s Republic of China law requires any Chinese company — including Huawei and ZTE — to work for the Chinese Communist Party if asked,” McCaul said in a statement.

Facebook launches in-app vaccine finder tool in India

Social media giant, Facebook, on Tuesday launched a vaccine finder tool in its mobile app in partnership with the Indian government, The Economic Times reported. “Partnering with the Government of India, Facebook will begin rolling out its Vaccine Finder tool on the Facebook mobile app in India available in 17 languages to help people identify places nearby to get the vaccine,” the company said. The places and their hours of operation will be shared by the Ministry of Home Affairs Facebook also announced a $10 million grant to India for the Covid19 emergency response, the report stated. “Partnering with the Government of India, Facebook will begin rolling out its Vaccine Finder tool on the Facebook mobile app in India available in 17 languages to help people identify places nearby to get the vaccine,” the company said.

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