At their annual flagship conference Google For India 2018, the search engine giant made a slew of announcements tailor-made for India. Apart from crisis response and SOS alerts, Google also hinted that the company would use artificial intelligence and machine learning to not only predict natural disasters but also address healthcare issues in India.
Speaking at the event on Wednesday, Rajan Anandan, VP, India and SEA Sales and Operations at Google said that technology sometimes helps overcome extraordinary circumstances. “India has gone online to rally behind the victims of the Kerala and Karnataka floods. Our Crisis Response team turned on SOS alerts on Google Search in English and Malayalam, and activated Person Finder to help people search for family and friends. Locations of flood relief resources like shelters are being shared on Google Maps. Outside of the tech support, Google.org and Googlers are contributing over $1 million to support relief and recovery efforts. And others are also donating towards the Kerala flood relief on Tez,” said Anandan.
— Google India (@GoogleIndia) August 28, 2018
According to a news portal, Anitha Vijaykumar, project manager at TensorFlow, Google’s open-source software library, said that India, China and Bangladesh were the most affected by floods, and it was to prevent disasters in these countries that Google’s team started looking at using AI to predict floods.
“We have been doing AI research to forecast and reduce the impact of floods… Floods are the most common disaster on the planet, and with adequate warning, we can greatly reduce the impact of floods. The current modelling systems are only physics-based, and the data is not detailed enough, while Google is using a system that combines physics modelling plus AI learning, and combines that with elevation and satellite map data,” she added.
Earlier this June, the Central Water Commission (CWC) had entered into an agreement with Google to improve flood forecast systems and disseminate flood-related information.
Google also announced the launch of Navlekha, a platform built to help Indian language publishers get their content on the internet. The California-based company added that Google’s search feed will now display favourite news from both English and Hindi sources, using AI that learns which types of stories the users like best.
— Google India (@GoogleIndia) August 18, 2018