Google for India
In the sixth edition of ‘Google for India‘ event that took place virtually today, Google CEO Sundar Pichai shared, among other things, his personal life experiences, especially those that he lived in India while growing up.
During his keynote speech, India-born Pichai, said digital payments in India have enabled families across India to access goods and services during the lockdowns.
“For them, grocery delivery services have been invaluable,” Pichai said, adding on a lighter note that he is sure, though, that his grandmother misses haggling over the price of her vegetables in person.
Pichai, who recently turned 48 years of age, also reminisced his childhood days where he would be drawn to the television screen every evening to watch Doordarshan’s special rendition of ‘Saare Jahaan Se Accha’. Adding to that, he said that he tried to even explain the excitement that this memory contained but couldn’t. “In the end , I gave up and played it on YouTube for them instead,” he said in the speech.
The tech boss also shared how Google’s video-streaming platform helped him and his family to cook variety of dishes, especially in a period of global lockdown due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus pandemic. Pichai said how the recipes available on YouTube came to his rescue while he and his family prepared various cuisines such as ‘paneer makhani’ or pizza.
“Over the last few weeks, I been referring various YouTube videos to prepare dishes like paneer makhani or pizza with my children,” the tech boss shared.
Moreover, citing the Covid-19 outbreak, Pichai said the global pandemic has “supercharged” the adoption of digital tools.
Apart from the digital payments, Pichai counted digitisation of small businesses as one of the most exciting success stories, and noted 26 million SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) are now discoverable on search and maps, driving connections with more than 150 million users every month.
Speaking about Digital India’s success, Pichai said the country has made huge progress in getting a billion Indians online. Low-cost smartphones combined with affordable data and strong telecom infrastructure, have ushered new opportunities, Pichai said.
Building products for India first has helped Google build better products for users everywhere, he said.
Citing these reasons and development initiatives for India, the Google CEO announced plans to invest ₹75,000 crore over the next five to seven years through ‘Google for India Digitisation Fund‘, to help accelerate the adoption of digital technologies in the country.
Pichai, who held a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, made the announcement at annual ‘Google for India’ event via video conference.
Google said the investments would focus on several key areas:
- Enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in their own language, including Hindi, Tamil or Punjabi
- Building new products and services that are relevant to India’s unique needs
- Empowering businesses as they continue or embark on their digital transformation
- Leveraging technology and artificial intelligence for social good, in areas like health, education, and agriculture
Google also announced a new initiative with Prasar Bharati, launching an edutainment series on Doordarshan on how small businesses can adopt digital tools and adapt to the current situation, using examples of real life Indian businesses.
Google also announced a partnership with CBSE to train over 1 million teachers in 22,000 schools across India by the end of 2020, to deliver blended learning that combines the classroom approach with online learning, using free tools like G Suite for Education, Google Classroom, and YouTube.
To support underserved low-income communities, it has also announced a new Google.org grant of $1 million to Kaivalya Education Foundation (KEF) as part of the Global Distance Learning Fund.