Google India’s Tool for Community Messages and Public Information

Google India didn’t just settle with their Internet bus; Google India Labs has now released the Google Noticeboard.   Through a public digital noticeboard, the tool may just bring social interaction up to a whole other level:

Communities with access to shared computers can use the Noticeboard for exchanging messages related to community announcements, social interactions, local buying and selling, and information that is of wider interest to the community. The Noticeboard may also be used for the community to engage in a dialog with benefactors, public servants, and other service providers who are geographically distant.

As the website notes, literacy is not a pre-requiste for using the noticeboards, which makes the application more accessible.  Instead of writing in a message, community members simply hit record.  Will the voice message feature of the noticeboard add significant value?  In places where social capital is already very strong, does a community need a source to connect their messages and pass information?  It will be interesting to see what spins off from this and how different organizations, communities, movements, schools, or groups will use the tool.

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Ride on the Internet Bus

Using a mobile bus (such as the Nandini Mobile Van, which focuses on sanitation) is a popular method to do outreach to rural or underexposed areas.  Google India is launching their Internet Bus Project, an initiative that is essentially a mobile exhibition of the Internet.   The bus will provide an introductory look at the Internet and its services.   The project focuses on Tamil Nadu and aims to reach people that are not currently using the Internet.

The Internet Bus Project is an attempt educate people about what the Internet is, and how it may be beneficial to their lives, by taking the Internet experience to them through a customised Internet-enabled bus, which will travel to several towns and cities across India.

As the Google India blog states, there is potential in equalizing many playing fields through the Internet.  Additionally, this project highlights content in both English and Tamil, allowing larger segments of the population to participate and really understand the value of the web.  The video below is used as an introduction – complete with a song in Tamil.  Also be sure to take a look at the Internet Bus Project site, which has photos of the high-tech vehicle and tracks the route as the bus moves around the southern state.

Inaugural ‘Google India Women in Engineering Award’ Held Over Weekend

In an effort to recognize women in the field of computer engineering and other technical fields, Google India created the ‘Google India Women in Engineering Award’ to showcase the accomplishments of standout females throughout India. The winners this year

include Shruti Prakash Mahambre, Sheetal Shah, Uma Sawant and Neha Singh from IIT Bombay; Garima Lahoti and Priya Gupta from IIT Delhi; Aditi Gupta and Snigdha Chaturvedi from IIT Kanpur; Arpita Patra and Vijaya Chamundeeswari from IIT Chennai; and Navneet Chahal from IIT Roorkee.

Other winners are Anusha R and Hariny Murli from Anna University (CEG); Meghana Nasre from IISc Bangalore; Sriparna Saha from ISI; and Vaibhavi Shamsundar from VJTI.

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