According to a recent study, the growth of Indian language internet users is growing at 18% per year, so that by 2021 the total will reach 531 million, which will be nearly 75% of India’s total internet users.
This growth has been attributed to the availability of mobile data at a minimal cost, more digital awareness among rural populations, and growth in the number of smartphone users. With the Indian vernacular market estimated to grow so quickly, the study says that this will greatly affect the content ecosystem online.
One of the key findings of the study is the preference of native speakers to access content in their local languages rather than English. Nearly 70% of Indian-language users said they found it difficult to use an English keyboard.
India has more than 1,000 languages and dialects, so translation using methods like natural language processing is extremely challenging, but tech giants are already using new technologies like artificial intelligence and machine language to cater to their users in India.
Google has been quick to see the opportunities in India. In 2014, it introduced Voice Search in India, which enabled its users to speak in Hindi to navigate the web. The move proved to be an instant success, with 28% of its users relying on the feature. This was followed by the introduction of voice-guided navigation instruction for Google Maps in the Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, and Telugu languages.