Google inaugurated its sixth ‘Google For India’ event with a blast, announcing a gargantuan $10 billion investment plan for the country, spanning over the course of next 5 to 7 years. The announcement was made by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, and will work on expanding the company’s roots in the market.
The Google For India Digitization Fund will become Google’s latest investment vehicle in one of the biggest Internet markets in the world, with 500 million active internet users, and 450 million people accessing the services via a smartphone.
The company plans to roll out the money in form of equity investments, partnerships and operational infrastructure in ecosystems investments
The investment will focus on 4 key areas, which when put together, will “Make the Internet helpful for a billion Indians and empower India to become a leading digital economy.”
First and foremost, the company will enable affordable access and information to every Indian in their own language. This means that the company will make sure that language is not a barrier when it comes to quality education, and will expand its infrastructures to include information rich data in languages like Hindi, Tamil, Punjabi etc.
Second, Google vows to build new products and services that are deeply relevant to India’s needs. Every country has a different technological landscape, which defines the products that become relevant in the market. Google will ensure that it keeps its focus on India, and develop products that not only cater to the goal of a digital economy, but also to the average internet user.
Third, the company plans on empowering businesses as they continue, or embark, on their digital transformation. This can be done by investments, partnerships, or developing products that aid the startup ecosystem of the country.
Last but not least,Google will focus on leveraging technology and AI for social good, in areas like health, education, and agriculture.
The company will also focus on providing more high quality low cost smartphones in the country. Android, which has become the standard OS for over 2 billion+ devices, counts India as the 2nd biggest manufacturer of mobile phones in the world. This comes at a time when the anti China sentiment is high across the nation, and people are seeking alternatives for the high quality phones provided by the likes of MI and Oppo.
The company is also launching an entertainment series in partnership with ‘Prasar Bharti’, which will make its way to the vintage Doordarshan channel, and educate small businesses on the right way to adopt digital tools.
Google also announced the launch of ‘Teach from Home’, its own information hub that can be accessed for remote learning, as schools and universities across the country struggle with the COVID enforced lockdown. The platform will be available in 8 different languages, and include resources like Google classroom and much more. The company also forged an alliance with CBSE skill education and learning to enable more than 1 million teachers and 22,000+ plus schools by the end of the year to deliver blended learning. Google also announced a $1 million grant for underserved, low income communities, through its Global distance learning fund.
Google has already been working with the government of India in handling the COVID 19 crisis, and has embarked on a journey to root out disinformation and provide scientifically backed data to each and every Indian. The company has helped provide information for more than 11,000 food and night shelter facilities over 700 cities. Moreover, it allowed users to donate money to the PM Cares Fund directly through the Google Pay app, which resulted in more than Rs. 120 Cr being donated in just a few months.