‘In­sights from In­dia Help Cre­ate Right Prod­ucts for Oth­ers’

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit -

Google is us­ing in­sights it re­ceives from In­dia to cre­ate the right prod­ucts for the coun­try as well as for other global mar­kets in­clud­ing the US, says Karim Tem­samani, Asia-Pa­cific (APAC) pres­i­dent of the In­ter­net gi­ant. “What we learn from In­dia, we can scale to the rest of the world,” Tem­samani told Neha Tyagi and Sagar Malviya, in an in­ter­view, dur­ing his sixth visit to the coun­try in three years. Edited ex­cerpts:

For your par­ent com­pany, In­dia still con­trib­utes only a small per­cent­age of its over­all rev­enues de­spite it be­ing a mar­ket leader in dig­i­tal ad­ver­tis­ing here. When do you see it im­prov­ing? One of the rea­sons why those num­bers are not as big as other coun­tries is that we have very suc­cess­ful busi­nesses in a lot of coun­tries. So, it will take time for In­dia to catch up to them. In­dia is a phe­nom­e­nal coun­try for us at the global level and cer­tainly in APAC in terms of its rel­e­vance to our num­bers. APAC is be­com­ing the cen­tre of the world both be­cause of the size and pop­u­la­tion, and from a funds per­spec­tive. I think we are go­ing to see an in­cred­i­ble in­crease in house­hold wealth over the next 15 years, with a lot of it driven by In­dia. When you look at what is hap­pen­ing from a user’s per­spec­tive you see that APAC is shap­ing things to come by shap­ing pop­u­lar cul­ture. Cricket has al­ready re­placed base­ball. Well, it is the sport that is most searched on Google and all of that is driven by In­dia.

How unique is In­dia? Can it help build some of your global in­no­va­tions? In­dia was the first coun­try in the world that moved to mo­bile for maps ac­cess. Be­cause the pop­u­la­tion is that young and they are crit­i­cally do­ing things dif­fer­ently on their de­vices, we know that the prod­ucts that we cre­ate for this re­gion not only have an im­pact on COM­PANY PHOTO this re­gion but also on the world. Giv­ing an ex­am­ple, we got great in­sights from In­dian con­sumers as to how they wanted to con­sume video. We knew that a lot of times there were is­sues like cost to ac­cess or the net­work ac­cess it­self wasn’t there, but we knew there was a will to do that. So, we started pro­vid­ing a prod­uct that al­lowed peo­ple to down­load video off­line. YouTube off­line not only be­came in­cred­i­bly suc­cess­ful for us in In­dia and is grow­ing very fast, but the fea­ture al­lowed us to cre­ate YouTube Go which is our of­fer­ing that even­tu­ally got into other prod­ucts like maps and coun­tries and Amer­i­can users to­day are us­ing maps at a high rate. The in­sights that we gain from lis­ten­ing to In­dian users have al­lowed us to cre­ate real prod­ucts that are rel­e­vant to a coun­try like the US, which is great to see.

Is In­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity still a big is­sue in In­dia? Ac­cess is con­tin­u­ously im­prov­ing in In­dia and ev­ery time I come here I find that my own ac­cess is im­prov­ing and I think all the companies con­tinue to ex­pand their of­fer­ings and are im­prov­ing the band­width. But on top of that there is com­pe­ti­tion. Jio has come into the mar­ket and has driven a lot of dif­fer­ent be­hav­iours for con­sumers, in­clud­ing eco­nomic be­hav­iours. So, any in­vest­ment in the ecosys­tem is pos­i­tive.

How can Google help in im­prov­ing net­work be­cause even­tu­ally it will ben­e­fit the most? When we started Google Wi-Fi at rail­ways sta­tions so that peo­ple can have free ac­cess to Wi-Fi net­work we have seen tremen­dous re­sults. We have this in play at 120 rail­way sta­tions in the coun­try and we have 6 mil­lion peo­ple ac­cess­ing the net­work ev­ery month. We es­ti­mate we have 15,000 peo­ple ac­cess­ing In­ter­net for the first time in their life ev­ery sin­gle day on this net­work. We are very fo­cused on rail­way sta­tions right now and are plan­ning to ex­pand to 400 sta­tions in the next cou­ple of years. What we have done is cre­ate a prod­uct, Google Sta­tion, for the In­dian Rail­ways and are now talk­ing to var­i­ous companies if they want to use that prod­uct to cre­ate Wi-Fi net­work.

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