Google House @ Leela Palace Bangalore 18 Aug 2015

The invite called it ‘An experiential walk through of google products like never before.’

I went there with the expectation of seeing something super cool. Famous names like Kunal Kapur of Masterchef fame,fashion photographers Dabboo Ratnani and Anushka Menon and stand-up comedian Kanan Gill were guest presenters at the event. Presenters from Google included Sandeep Menon, Director of Marketing for Google India and Suren Ruhela, Director, Program Management, Google Maps.

The concept for the setup was interesting. It was modeled like rooms in a house where they were demonstrating how Google products could be used. On the downside, it sort of set the expectation high – smart home integration solutions from Google and the like.

It was a bit of a let down when the presentation was about Google Now, Google Maps and enhancements specific to the Indian market. It was purely a mismatch of the expectation.

The instant English to Hindi Google translate was a really nifty addition with a whole lot of potential for the Indian market. It would be huge and undeniably, immensely useful when instant translation is launched for all Indian languages.

Another useful feature was the calorie calculator for Indian food. Again, a whole lot of potential here, with the rise of calorie consciousness in India.

The demo of GoogleNow looked a bit like going back into the past, as many of the features demonstrated have been around for a few years. But the new enhancements were definitely in the right direction. GoogleNow in India is just catching up with the rest of the world.

Some parts of the demo felt a bit rudimentary for technologists in the room. Google101 – How to use maps, OK Google, How to multi select photos, and How to use Youtube offline.

The intent of the setup was to create a cozy living room conversation like atmosphere, but with just a few seats in the room, it definitely got inconvenient to stand around for a couple of hours.

Every presenter including the celebrity guests played their part really well for the demo, but unfortunately, the script was too weak and it diluted the whole experience.

If the invite had mentioned it was about India specific product enhancements, it would have set the stage on what to expect. By letting the attendees imagine it to be about next gen products at Google, the entire experience ended up being a tad bit below expectation.

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