Google has released a brand new app called Bolo (which translates literally to ‘speak’ in Hindi) which has been designed to help children learn both Hindi and English.

Bolo works without an internet connection, making it much more accessible once downloaded even to those in remote locations in the Indian subcontinent. For those without an active connection, the application can be sideloaded for even greater sharing potential. This will no doubt be a huge help to those in rural locations, which often have poor mobile connectivity or issues with consistent connections.

The application also uses a voice assistant to help guide children through all of the language lessons included. Lessons themselves are a mixture of games and simple tasks that rewards children as they progress.

Using Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology, Bolo will ask children to read both sentences and phrases. Then the application listens to what has been said, quickly reviews the audio, and then using an animated assistant called Diya, helps out with pronunciation before continuing with the story.

Bolo app in action

Not only does Diya help with pronunciation, when children are learning English, Diya will also give the meaning of the word in Hindi. For children learning English as a second language, this will be a massive help.

“Bolo is designed as a reading-tutor app that helps primary grade students to improve their reading,” explained Google Product Manager Nitin Kashyap via 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.”

The application is only currently available to download in India and has been designed to help improve reading and comprehension throughout the massive regions of the country. With 50 stories in Hindi and 40 in English already available alongside word games, the application is decent in size, but Google is already looking to add further content soon.

Another bonus is that Bolo will also run without the need for access to a Google account, which will help even more children and families improve their reading and language skills.

Not only that but the application will be accessible for all Android smartphones running Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) or higher. Google also confirmed that while the application is currently optimized for native Hindi speakers, it will likely evolve over time for other languages.

To learn more about Bolo you can head to the official website dedicated to the project. Alternatively, you can download the application here. Please note: This app is only currently available in India.

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Damien Wilde

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