Image Courtesy: Google
Google CEO, Sundar Pichai’s visit to India marked the beginning of a new era of possibilities amongst the much ‘Googlified’ Indian users. Not only does India rank for having the most number of enthusiastic Google users in the world, the advent of smartphones have in fact raised the penetration levels to altogether new heights.
While Google Search forms the lifeline of most knowledge-driven (err knowledge seeking) Indians, the outsourcing capital of the world also prides for having the highest number of Google employees (1700+) outside the United States. But that’s just the beginning of the Google story in India as Sundar Pichai’s recent visit under the umbrella – Google for India is all set to ramp up the technology giant’s engineering presence in India.
Top Developments of Sundar Pichai’s ‘Google for India’ Initiative
1. Improve Internet access
Google takes the next step to expand its outreach in India by collaborating with Indian Railways and Railtel to offer free RailWire Wifi inside railway stations. It has announced Mumbai Central to be the first railway station to come online in their program – with highly optimistic plans to include 100 more stations by the end of 2016. This means connecting more than 10 million people who pass through every day, into the Internet (viz. Google) lifeline.
2. Connecting rural India
Google is also expanding its Internet outreach program in association with Tata Trust to connect women in rural India through a fleet of Internet bikes. Having already connected 1,000 villages so far, Google is now adding resources with plans of connecting 3,00,000 villages nationwide in a 3 year span. So, harnessing the power of technology for women empowerment.
3. Faster loading on limited bandwidth
Google is working on upgrading its products to work better in India (focusing on the more dominant 2G connections) courtesy “Lighter” Search results, where web pages automatically load faster when you’re on limited bandwidth. This will prove to be helpful not only for users on slow connections, but will also benefit publishers consequently who will see a 50 percent increase in traffic. In fact, the Google Data Saver mode on the Chrome mobile browser will remove images on detecting a slow connection.
4. Offline Google Accessibility
Google is set to make its products accessible like never before – sans internet connection. Users in India can now access real-time navigation and searches on Google Maps without a data connection. But worth mentioning is Google offering the privilege to India users for being the first to access offline viewing of YouTube that will allow millions of users watch videos without Internet connectivity. Also on the cards is the rolling out of a new feature that will improve buffering when videos are paused.
5. Anybody can make Videos
Google has begun its collaboration this month with renowned film school Whistling Woods International (WWI) for its YouTube Space Mumbai initiative, to teach Indian content creators how to make better videos. This initiative Google believes will open up opportunities galore for India’s YouTube creators - fostering the next wave of entertainment talent for Bollywood and beyond.
6. Education for all
Google is all set to make the Education for All initiative by the Government of India into a reality with its pioneering Chromebit - a small device that turns a monitor into a computer. To be made available in India beginning January 2016, this tool is set to boost computing in the education sector. So more power to you!
7. Fueling startups
Currently, with more than 4,100 enterprises on the surge, India prides to be the hub for the third-highest number of tech startups in the world – the number expected to reach several thousand by 2020. Google is set to fuel the startup trends in India further with it announcing an investment of $20,000 of cloud credits for 1000 startups in 2016, i.e. 120 million in a single year for startups – considered to be the single largest investment by Google worldwide for Google Cloud Services.
Google Powering India as the Hub for Best Android Developers
Last but not the least, Google in partnership with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) of India is all set to harness India’s engineering skill base across more than 30 universities by launching a program to train 2 million new Android developers over the next three years. Now that surely will make India the Android powerhouse of the world, considering its dominance in the world of being one of the most preferred outsourcing partners for businesses worldwide looking for Android application development.
If you still haven’t had enough, here’s what the Google CEO said when asked by a student in India as to why Android versions aren’t named after Indian sweets. His response was candid: “I'll meet my mom next time; I am gonna ask for suggestions... meanwhile for the next series, Android N, maybe we should do an online poll and all Indians should vote”. Now, that’s interesting isn’t it?
What according to you should “N” be? Be the first to coin the name for the next Android N. The world and also Google is listening!