Google on 06 March 2019 launched a free app called “Bolo” that parents can download to help primary grade children improve their Hindi and English reading skills. Launched in India first, the app is designed to work offline and comes with a built-in reading buddy, “Diya”, who encourages, aids, explains, and corrects the child, as they read aloud.
Google said it would not collect any data on children through the app and it would not have any advertisement. “Nothing is ever sent to Google through the app – not even the voice samples,” Nitin Kashyap, Product Manager, Google India, told IANS, adding that the app is meant for just 10-15 minutes of daily use.
With the app, 64 percent of children showed an improvement in reading proficiency in just three months, it added. As per the ASER 2018 report, of all the students enrolled in grade 5 in rural India, only about half can confidently read a grade 2 level textbook. Lack of reading ability can significantly impact further education, and ultimately the children’s ability to realize their full potential.