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BW Businessworld

Googl India: Bridging The Digital Divide

The company ranked high on trustworthy leadership & financial returns

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It’s no big secret that Google has dominated the search engine market, and continues to do so. As of April 2019, it was maintaining an 88.47 per cent market share in the search engine business. Majority of Google revenues are generated through advertising. Also, YouTube, Chrome, Gmail, Search, and Google Play, Google Maps reach way over 1 billion monthly users. 

YouTube alone has 2 billion-plus worldwide users of which more than 12 per cent are active in India alone. “Even in India, if we talk about YouTube, a video created by an Indian gets audience from across the world. That’s the beauty of digital economy,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google. He was speaking at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland. More Indians are using the various platforms offered by Google today, which in turn, is continuously localising its offering in most Indian languages. 

Therefore, for a variety of reasons, Google India has emerged on top of the list for the ‘Most Respected Companies’, a prestigious perception-based annual ranking of companies by BW Businessworld. With an average ratings of 3.06 and ranking high on the parameters of ‘trustworthy leadership’ and ‘financial returns’, Google India edged out Amazon India, another giant e-tailer, to emerge as the number one among the top-50 Most Respected Company list. 

Google, which is owned by Alphabet, also owns both Google Search and Google Chrome, along with Google Maps, Google Drive, Google+, Android, Gmail and many other products.

The magnitude, size and penetration of Google products in our everyday lives or its significance cannot be quantified simply because it is a part of most Indians that are connected to the Internet. Therefore, a change in the accounting standards in India that led to a sharp fall in the revenue of Google India, as reported in local media a few months ago, does not, in any way, diminishes this giant Internet entity. Google saw its India revenue dive to a three-year low in the last financial year. The India unit reported a 55.5 per cent dip in revenue to Rs 4,147 crore during FY19, down from Rs 9,337 crore in the previous year, even though its India profit increased by 16 per cent to Rs 473 crore in the financial year ending March 31 as expenses plummeted 61 per cent during the year to Rs 3,416 crore.

The year 2019 was also an exceptional year for Google India. The company in India witnessed a change of guard at the top with Rajan Anandan, the Managing Director for India moving out after a long-stint and the company appointing Sanjay Gupta as the Country Manager for India. 

Last year, like the previous one, also witnessed a spike in voice search. As per one analysis, more consumers living outside metros are using the internet for information and for their everyday needs. They are contributing more searches related to life insurance, buying and selling vehicles, queries on beauty and health, for travel related information and much more compared to their city-dwelling counterparts. 

Speaking at the World Economic Forum recently, Google CEO Pichai said: “We need a free and open internet for all, as data sovereignty is important for every country, and that needs to be taken into account in any data protection framework in any part of the world. Internet is an export product.”

From building products that perform in low connectivity areas to having features like Indic keyboard supporting 50-plus languages for users, bridging the digital gender divide in rural India by empowering women through digital literacy with Internet Saathi or actively investing in mid-to-large-sized startups through G Capital, Google is aiming big for the internet ecosystem in India. 

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