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Google House looks back at their recent launches
Sanshey Biswas  22nd Aug 2015

A room at the Google House event in Bangalore.

he employed people of the world spend most of theirtime either at home or in the office. There isn't much one can do to mould the office ecosystem beyond a point; the house, however, is where creativity can thrive, whether it's managing the space better or automating the whole house. Sandeep Menon, head of marketing at Google in India, spent a fair amount of time at Google House, held last week in Bangalore, showing us how Google's products, such as Photos, Maps, Search and Translate, can make life much easier if we use them to their full potential.

The event provided a peek into Google's vision as they turned a ballroom at the Leela Palace hotel, which was hosting the conference, into a house. The exposed brick walls and use of bright colours and rustic furniture allowed a clear distinction from Apple's ideology. It's easy to imagine Apple using clean white spaces to draw attention to their products, as if it were an Apple House. Google House, though, even had a television and a Macbook hooked up to it. We immediately knew Chromebooks weren't going to make an appearance and, indeed, the entire event revolved around their services on Android.

Keeping in mind Larry Page's vision, the search engine has migrated its focus from catering to users' demands to assisting them in their daily lives in the form of Google Now. Anushka Menon, a photographer, accompanied Sandeep Menon to demonstrate the overlooked features of the app. Tiny details like showing the weather of three cities instead of one because the user is flying between them, or trending topics and articles that the user may be interested in, make it a utility and interactive homepage for your daily lookup. Google Now is a decent alternative to swiping between home screens aimlessly.

The Google Maps service has also come to our rescue time and again (though it's been our nemesis just as often). Sometimes, it blows you away with the best navigation possible, and at other times, it fails to even meet the standard of direction guidance a real person could give you. With recent updates, Google has humanised the app with directions and navigation assistance that uses landmarks instead of metric quantities to lead the way. You even get live traffic updates that only make it easier, but that's already a part of the navigation features. The Streetview feature lets you visit a place, providing a 3D-like view of the local attractions, where you can view photographs and reviews by visitors. Basically, Google Maps is trying to create a place for itself analogous to the one created by Zomato in the food industry.

Moving to the kitchen, Kunal Kapur, a celebrity chef who gave us priceless tips on cooking, was very excited about the new calorie chart on Google searches, which compares compares different food items so that you can make the right choice. "Saturated fat — bad. Unsaturated fat — good," he asserted. But a Google user doesn't necessarily live in a place that has English as its primary script. That's where the Google Translate app steps in. It can read and translate between languages with the click of a photo.

Keeping in mind Larry Page’s vision, the search engine has migrated its focus from catering to users’ demands to assisting them in their daily lives in the form of Google Now.

Sticking to photos, Dabboo Ratnani is a prolific name in the industry, and his space requirements are naturally considerable. That's why we felt that his appreciation for the new Photos app by Google, which gives users unlimited storage for high quality images and

5 GB (upgradable) for original quality images, to be genuine. The apps also make going through all your photos a breeze with chronological arrangement providing an organised system for you to mantain your photo albums. But if you can't spot the time, searching for the place or person in the picture can also help you find it, as Photos has an image recognition algorithm deployed by Google.

While uploading all your images to the cloud will eat up your data plan, comedian Kanan Gill advised us to reduce data usage by taking videos from YouTube offline. The offline feature on YouTube started with the Android One devices and now serves as a great way to take videos and entire playlists offline.

While several features from Google's services and apps took centre stage, it did somehow seem like we — India — were being apologised to for not being the choice for a global launch. India remains the second largest base of internet users in the world, and that explains Google kicking it up a notch with their engagement with the country. But they still seem to be figuring out their strategy for India, and currently their mobile services seem to be a priority.

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