This Article is From Jan 05, 2017

Can Google Help Digital India? Google CEO Sundar Pichai Says 'Working Hard'

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Indian startups, on the right path, are solving hard problems.

New Delhi: Google CEO Sundar Pichai in an exclusive interview to NDTV said that the company is now using India as a lab for world innovations. Giving away Google's next steps in India, Mr Pichai said the notes ban or demonetisation is a bold move and would accelerate digital change and his company may bring services on top of the UPI based system which will make digital payments easier.

Here are the highlights of the interview:
  • The experience as Google CEO has been great. It's a phenomenal opportunity to do things on a global scale.
  • You know we are fortunate to have products which are used by billions of users around the world and so working everyday on things which can impact billions of people, it is a privilege. It has been great.
On digital payments
  • When you drive these platform shifts, take some time for effects to play out, it's a multiplier effect.
  • I think it is a courageous move and it is a platform shift for the unplanned economy, trying to digitise how cash moves around and you know we are excited by it.
  • I think you know understanding what UPI is and the power of the stack, which is being built here, I think it is truly unique to India.
  • We are working on it hard. Anything we can do to make payments easier for users in India.
  • So we are trying to understand UPI stack, to bring some services, which which will make things better for Indian users in terms of digital payments.
Google for India
  • Our largest user base for android is in India now. So absolutely as we develop android further, we are going to think about stuff which is very specific to India.
  • Be it in terms of supporting languages, we make it easy for voice interactions to work or how can we make digital payments to work, maybe finger print scanning should be both more natively in phones.
  • Earlier today, the IT minister was pointing out to me, how most of the advertising now, marketers are clever, they do this in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu to reach these users. So here is the insight, you need to do that to reach India the scale and the potential. And so we will do that as well.
  • As part of our Internet Saathi program, we are travelling around, trying to train rural Indian women on how to use the Internet. One example, you know I talked about it earlier, Chittnai woman all over Rajasthan just learning how to use their Internet. They could search for what was affecting their crop, they were losing their harvest and then the village organised around it to save the harvest.
  • So you can see getting access can make a profound difference in people's life and so then we are very motivated by it.
  • So a year ago we had talked about Wi-Fi for train stations and we have talked about connecting. Our goal was to connect 400 stations and we had focused on 100 busiest stations and we did that.
  • We are now in 110 stations and are used by millions of users every day, so you can see the thirst and hunger for data for connectivity for people to be part of the digital economy and it is remarkable to see.
Making internet more ubiquitous
  • Two big things, one is from our side, we are committed on making even cheaper smartphones, we are working  on making 100$ smartphones, 50$ smartphones but I think right price point for India is around, you know is 30$.
  • The second part is connectivity, when I look, what's happening in India, the innovation you are seeing among carriers and the rate at which connectivity is changing, just in the last few months, we see there is an infliction point again and we look at services like YouTube, our usage in India is skyrocketing and that's largely due to fact that more people are getting connectivity. So I think right things are happening, more infrastructure in terms of fiber deployment etc., which will accelerate this.
Solving problems of patchy internet
  • Everything we do in India, we make sure it works well on slower connections and flaky connections, as we call it, and I think it makes a big difference.