It’s a hymn to India, blending commerce, technology, innovation and ingenuity. Google’s India-born CEO Sundar Pichai has unveiled an ambitious transformative agenda for one of the world’s fastest growing economies and the laboratory of new ideas.
“For Google, India is where the ideas are born, and their efficacy tested, before rolling it out to the world”, said Mr Pichai said in an evangelical tone.
Underlining the pivotal role India will play in the search giant’s overall strategy, Mr Pichai and other visiting Google executives made it clear that India is at the heart of the company’s strategy not just as a growing user base but as a product development base.
Google is all set to expand its presence in India with a new campus in Hyderabad, which will be its biggest campus apart from its headquarters in Mountain View, California. The company also plans to increase hiring in other centres like Bangalore. Mr Pichai underlined the search giant’s intention to push for more internet adoption in India and announced free Wi-Fi in 100 railway stations as promised to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Silicon Valley in September. Mumbai Central will the first of the 100 railway stations, getting Wi-Fi connectivity by December 2016.
Raising the bar: India Potential
Google is also looking to tap the strong developer community in the country since it is central to creating new products, said Mr Pichai. A programme to train two million developers on its Android platform will be launched over the next three years through a partnership with the National Skill development Corporation of India.
“It makes sense to invest in India as what we build here will have global usage,” Mr Pichai said. “MapMaker is a crowdsourced map updation tool, which was made in India in 2008 by two Indian engineers and landmark based navigation for Maps are just two of the examples of ideas born in India and used by Google users globally,” Mr Pichai added.
In 2016 Google will also introduce “launch tap to translate”, a feature that will enable direct translation to Hindi in messaging apps. “ Google recently held “translateathon”, “where we had 20,000 volunteers contribute translations and we translated over 1 million Hindi words so we can understand and help users translate,” Mr Pichai said.
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