Google India: Ruling The Internet
Google is aiming to create access to the internet with initiatives, products, and services that are relevant to India
Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma
There is no doubt that google is not a conventional company and it does not intend to become one either. Out of the many ventures that the company has undertaken in past two decades till now, it has always strived to do more. Google now has over a billion users on Google Maps, Chrome, YouTube, and Android; and it does not stop there.
In alignment with its global efforts of getting the next billion people online - many of whom are in India – Google has highly prioritised its focus and commitment in India. In August, Google announced a line of India-centric decisions at Google For India event with the theme being Digital Inclusion. Since India has approximately 450 million internet users out of which 390 million users are monthly active, it suggests the exceeding pace at which the web is maturing in the country. While more than 50 per cent Indians are using mobile search every day, YouTube alone has 245 million monthly active users from India. Data usage among Indians is also now at par with users of developed nations at 8GB per month.
Rajan Anandan, Google India’s MD enthusiastically says, “It has been a transformational year for India’s Internet industry as improved access and low-cost data has redefined the consumer behaviour. We are today a video-first Internet, and we are on our way to become the world’s first voice-first Internet. All the new users coming online now would much rather speak to the Internet than tap or type. So, as a result, for instance, voice search queries in India are growing at 270 per cent per year. Voice enabled Internet services in local languages will accelerate the growth and adoption of various internet services.”
Voice search is growing very fast and is quickly becoming the next frontier of growth. The usage of Google Assistant has tripled in India over the last year. It has already been announced that Google Assistant on the Google Home speaker will be supporting Hindi and will be adding Marathi and seven more Indic languages on phones.
“We remain very committed to our goal of making the Internet useful for a billion Indians. As the real India that can truly benefit from the Internet is not yet online, and we all need to come together to find the solution for the real needs of India,” he adds.
Last year, to fuel India’s businesses and startup ecosystem, the Mountain View-based Internet giant launched a training programme called ‘Digital Unlocked’, an initiative aimed at arming SMBs with digital skills via offline and online training. Nearly 360,000 businesses have been trained since the launch of this initiative. The company has consistently invested in bringing its platforms, tools and core strengths including AI and machine learning to help Indian startups build, scale and grow their offerings. This journey began with less than 800 startups in India and after gaining significant traction, India became the third largest startup ecosystem in the world with a staggering growth of over 5,000 startups.
The recipe of success of this unconventional company in India is its cultural focus in the country. What India needs is a connected nation with access to the whole Web, which will help businesses grow, power education for the next generation, and create growth for the Indian economy. For this, Google is aiming to create access to the Internet with initiatives, products, and services that are relevant to India. It is bringing Internet access to Indian Railway Stations, with a footfall of over 10 million users across the country. It has already covered over 400 stations with close to 8 million monthly users.
From building products that perform in low connectivity areas to having features like Indic keyboard supporting 50 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.