Google’s coming of age — the company hit its 18th year of incorporation this month, and is currently shifting focus to India.
That’s according to CEO Sundar Pichai, who wrote an op-ed in The Economic Times describing Google’s push to increase connectivity and access to smartphones and computers in the developing country.
“India is becoming an important centre for new technologies — even though less than a third of the population has access to the Internet,” Pichai writes. “Imagine the inventions and progress we will see when everyone has an easy time getting online and getting the information they need.”
India is Pichai’s home, and he noted some of the steps Google is taking to fulfill its goal of bringing more people online. The biggest one was establishing free public Wi-Fi at Indian rail stations — the search giant has established it at 50 stations, with 50 more to come by the end of the year. The current 50 bring more than 3 million people online every month.
Pichai says Google has also brought its internet companion training program to 10 Indian states, which helps women get online to empower change.
“Simply put, solving for India is inspiring new Google innovations.”
“For example, Chetna from Alwar district in Rajasthan, learnt about mustard farming techniques at the Internet Saathi programme to improve her earnings and is now a source of inspiration in her community,” he writes.
The CEO says India has inspired several features in some of its apps, like offline mode for Maps, YouTube Smart Offline, and more. The company today made several announcements specific to India, like YouTube Go, an app built from the ground up; Google Station, a set of tools that allows partners to bring public Wi-Fi hot spots anywhere; upcoming support for Hindi with Google Assistant in Allo; and an expanded Data Saver mode in Chrome for Mobile, and faster browsing on Google Play.
But a push in India doesn’t mean Google is ignoring the rest of the world — in fact, Pichai says it’s making Google better everywhere.
“Over the last year, we have noticed something important about improving our products in India: it makes them better for everyone around the world,” Pichai writes. “In an increasingly mobile-first world, India gives us early insights into the future of the internet. Moreover, we learned the issues Indians may have with connectivity, and data constraints can be universal. We dreamed up Maps Offline for India, but people in the United States and Europe are finding it just as useful. Simply put, solving for India is inspiring new Google innovations.”
On the subject of Google’s birthday — the search giant doesn’t know the exact day it was created. In a 2013 blog post, Google says it has celebrated September 7, 8, 26, and the 27. The company was actually incorporated on September 4, 1998. Regardless, this year it’s celebrating today, September 27, and is doing so in the form of a special birthday Google Doodle.
So happy 18th birthday, Google!