Tag Archives: Digital India

Fueling growth for India’s Small and Medium Businesses

GoCoop envisioned creating India’s largest artisan directory and connecting them directly with buyers from across the world

Maganlal Dresswalla is a 100-year old Mumbai based costumier who wanted to accelerate and cater to newer audiences

Walnut, a personal finance app, had the opportunity to scale overnight from 2 million to 5 million when the Indian demonetization drive started in November 2016

For these and millions of small businesses across India, digital offers a powerful platform to transform and accelerate growth.

At Google, we believe that as Indian small businesses chart their growth journey, technology is playing a pivotal role in helping them explore new markets, engage different audiences and compete more effectively. And our focus is to enable them with the right skills and tools to help them digitize and leverage the full power of the internet.

In our joint research study with KPMG, we find that rising internet penetration and greater uptake of digital by SMBs in India could help increase their contribution to India’s GDP from the current 37.5% to to 46-48% by 2020. Ascertaining the benefits of going digital for small businesses, it determines  that profits of digitally engaged SMBs grow twice as fast compared to offline SMBs. Likewise digitally engaged businesses are able to grow their customer base significantly with 52% catering to customers beyond their home city versus only 29% offline SMBs. However, the study found that 68% Indian SMBs are still offline due to a  lack of understanding of the benefits of digital technologies and technical skills to get them online.

At Google, we believe that the Internet is just as much for the established local merchant as it is for the new-age startup. Further, with the Internet, the smallest business can become the largest business in the blink of an eye. And therefore, today we are launching a large scale training program for Indian SMBs - Digital Unlocked. With this program, we envisage making quality training in going digital available to every single small business in India that wants it.
Screen Shot 2017-01-03 at 6.17.08 PM.png

In keeping with the varied learning needs of the millions of businesses in India, we’ve built this program across online, offline and mobile. The offline training is being conducted in partnership with FICCI and over the next three years, 5,000 workshops will be held across 40 Indian cities.
The online training comprises a set of 90 self-paced video tutorials, curated specifically for India  and is available free of charge at g.co/digitalunlocked. The tutorials cover a comprehensive set of topics ranging from building a web presence and driving online growth to reaching customers over mobile and video digital and email marketing to social media. The trainings are certified by Google, Indian School of Business and FICCI.

Further, for India’s mobile-first audience, Google also launched Primer, a free mobile app uniquely designed to teach digital marketing skills in a quick, easy and interactive way. It is available for download through the Google Play and iOS app store. Primer also works offline and is currently available in English and Hindi with Tamil, Telugu and Marathi versions coming shortly.

We recognize that having digital skills is a good starting point, but businesses also need a robust online identity to connect with consumers and convert their interest into action. And therefore, today, we are previewing My Business Websites with the intent of equipping the vast majority of small businesses with a simple way to start their digital journey by creating  a free, mobile optimised website, easily and instantly. Available for Google My Business users later in the year, this new feature will provide simple, templated and editable websites for small businesses created from the information and photos provided by them on Google Maps. My Business Websites will be available in English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, and Malayalam.

In 2015, we launched our first initiative to partner Indian SMBs on their digital journey. And over the last year, we have engaged 8 million small businesses by helping them find and grow their online presence, benefitting from the innovations offered by Google Search and Google Maps.

We are excited about our next steps forward in our journey, that will enable every business, everywhere in India to open their doors to digital with the tools, training and support needed to grow and transform their business.  

With the new app, the Prime Minister is just a tap away

If you could have an app to engage with your Government and leaders, what would you want it to do?

Last year, together with MyGov, the citizen engagement platform of the Government of India, we invited Indian citizens to share their ideas on what features an app of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) should include. We were overwhelmed by the response: MyGov received over 10,000 entries with more than 45,000 ideas. The resulting PMO app showcases the accomplishments we can achieve when we work together.

Thanks to Team Sanskrit, Indians now have access to the winning PMO app that fuses several ideas submitted from around the country. This app gives citizens access to critical information about flagship programmes. In addition, the app provides an overview of the Prime Minister’s major initiatives, news and social media updates, and enables people to make a donation to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund - all this and more in 10 Indian languages.

At a ceremony with Prime Minister Modi on August 6th, we will be felicitating Team Sanskrit’s members: Raghav Sarin, Gyan Lakhwani, Prajwal Seth, Preet S. Khalsa, Naman Dwivedi and Pranav Sethi. They will be visiting the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, where they will get to spend some quality time interacting with our engineering and Android teams.  

We worked closely with MyGov across all three phases of the contest, from soliciting ideas to creating a blueprint based on the top ideas. This blueprint served as a guide for the developer teams to build their wireframe. Google engineers provided mentoring to the five finalist teams to help them refine their apps.

For over 225 million people in India, the smartphone is the gateway to the Internet. Thanks to the students and the launch of the newly built PMO app, mobile phones open doors to the Prime Minister himself. With increasing connectivity across the country, the possibilities for  collaboration and innovations are endless.

Posted by Chetan Krishnaswamy, Country Head - Public Policy, Google India

1.5 million Indians enjoy high Speed Wi-Fi across 19 Railway Stations

Internet today represents an opportunity that can catapult India into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge economy. Even with 350* million Indians online today, the digital divide in India continues to remain a big challenge. On the occasion of the inaugural World Wi-Fi Day by The Wireless Broadband Alliance  that aims to provide a platform to help bridge the Digital Divide. We want to take this moment to celebrate the milestone we have hit with our project with Railtel to provide high speed Wi-Fi at Railway Stations across India.

Last week we rolled out the network at four of India’s largest stations - Sealdah, Lucknow Jn, Lucknow and Gorakhpur Jn and we are delighted to share that 1.5 million Indians are now enjoying the high-speed broadband experience across 19 stations. At this scale, this is India’s shining example of a project that is contributing in bridging the digital divide by making high-speed broadband Wi-Fi network more easily accessible to millions of Indians who cross these stations.  

Majority of India continues to access the Internet on a narrow band network, limiting their experience of Internet to basic activities. Easy and affordable access to full fidelity broadband network continues to be a challenge in India and is throttling the economic impact that Internet can have on the country. With this project, our objective is to create abundant broadband access to millions of Indians who’re currently not online or are using it in limited capacity to significantly enhance the benefits and productivity of the Internet. While we’re only at approximately 20% of the roll out schedule for this year, the response has been phenomenal.

We saw 100,000 users connect to the network within a week of launch at Mumbai Central and as we started rolling out the network at more stations, we saw exponential jump in the consumption of the network. Users in tier 2 cities latched onto the network with more enthusiasm and we saw much higher consumption of data in tier 2 cities, where access to high speed broadband is more challenging. Our data reveals that usage in Bhubaneshwar overtook Mumbai central within a day of the launch, and we’re seeing similar usage patterns emerge in tier 2 cities like Patna, Jaipur, Vishakhapatnam.  Per capita consumption of data in tier 2 cities far exceeds the consumption we are seeing in tier 1 cities.

It’s heartening to note that even though users are in transit catching their trains and moving to their destinations, the average consumption per user on the network is 15* times the data they would consume on a 3G pack in a day, which today is the most dominant means of access to the Internet in the country. While the primary usage is focussed around infotainment, we are seeing a lot of users in tier 2 cities use the network to look up and apply for jobs online. Bhubaneswar and Pune see lots of students come to the stations to look for up information related to educational courses, exam results , downloading softwares and upgrading their phone apps

We invite you to share your experience and views on the project #WiFidaywithGoogle

*Source: IAMAI Data, Google Internal Data

Posted by Gulzar Azad, Head of Access Programs, Google India

Digital India with Google – Translating the vision of connected India

With over 300 million Internet users in the country and another 200 million Indians set to join by 2017*, the Internet is opening up huge opportunities for Indian businesses and entrepreneurs. India’s Small and Medium businesses (SMBs), especially technology startups are starting to bloom and investments have led to an explosion in India’s tech sector in recent years. At over 4,100 enterprises, India has the third-highest number of tech startups in the world, this number is expected to reach several thousand by 2020.

At Google, we believe that a connected India with access to the web will empower  Indians, help businesses grow, open new opportunities for education for the next generation and create growth for the Indian economy. We’re  focussed on getting the next billion people online and the majority of them will come from India. We want to make sure they have a great, reliable, and relevant experience when they get there.

As we continue to work towards this vision, we’re very excited to launch a dedicated destination (g.co/digitalindia), where we attempt to capture how this digital revolution is unfolding in India. With real stories of entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses, this destination showcases how they’re achieving their dreams, goals and aspirations, and how Google is enabling them in these achievements.

The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India has launched the Digital India vision focussed on empowerment, development, growth and governance. With this destination, we want to showcase what that vision will translate into, by sharing the development and growth powered by SMBs, Indian Startups, entrepreneurs  and publishers.

We are excited that businesses all around India are using the technology we provide as an engine for their growth and we’re committed to helping them succeed with our tools and products. Just a few weeks ago, we announced an investment of $20,000 of cloud credits for 1000 startups in 2016 - 120 crores in a single year for startups. This is the single largest investment we’ve made anywhere in the world for Google Cloud Services. We want to help fuel the growth of companies and startups in India and one of the best ways we can do that is by empowering more businesses with the powerful tools Google provides for businesses.

India has over 51 million small and medium businesses, however, very few have an internet presence. When we first engaged SMBs in India, our mission was simple: help them get online. Since then we’ve invested in educating SMBs - to learn more about the web and the tools available to help their business be discovered and succeed online. Today, we’re helping small and medium businesses grow - expanding their customer bases across the country and also, across the region and going global. One such inspiring story of how Google is helping businesses succeed can be found here.

We have launched an initiative to build Internet presence for 20 Million SMBs in India - which can be accessed by anyone, anywhere on their mobile phones. Two million SMBs have already found a home on the Internet, through Google My Business.

When 20 million SMBs have such stories to share, we will have truly achieved our vision. We are committed to this vision and will continue to contribute in accelerating India’s pace to become the powerhouse of world class innovation, entrepreneurship and development.

* IAMAI iCube report

Posted by Rajan Anandan, VP & Managing Director, Sales & Operations, Google SEA & India

Bringing the Internet to more Indians—starting with 10 million rail passengers a day

[Cross posted from the Official Google Blog]

When I was a student, I relished the day-long railway journey I would make from Chennai Central station (then known as Madras Central) to IIT Kharagpur. I vividly remember the frenetic energy at the various stations along the way and marveled at the incredible scale and scope of Indian Railways.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Googleplex today

I’m very proud to announce that it’s the train stations of India that are going to help get millions of people online. In the past year, 100 million people in India started using the Internet for the first time. This means there are now more Internet users in India than in every country in the world aside from China. But what's really astounding is the fact that there are still nearly one billion people in India who aren’t online.

We’d like to help get these next billion Indians online—so they can access the entire web, and all of its information and opportunity. And not just with any old connection—with fast broadband so they can experience the best of the web. That’s why, today, on the occasion of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to our U.S. headquarters, and in line with his Digital India initiative, we announced a new project to provide high-speed public Wi-Fi in 400 train stations across India.

Working with Indian Railways, which operates one of the world's largest railway networks, and RailTel, which provides Internet services as RailWire via its extensive fiber network along many of these railway lines, our Access & Energy team plans to bring the first stations online in the coming months. The network will expand quickly to cover 100 of the busiest stations in India before the end of 2016, with the remaining stations following in quick succession.

Even with just the first 100 stations online, this project will make Wi-Fi available for the more than 10 million people who pass through every day.  This will rank it as the largest public Wi-Fi project in India, and among the largest in the world, by number of potential users. It will also be fast—many times faster than what most people in India have access to today, allowing travelers to stream a high definition video while they’re waiting, research their destination, or download some videos, a book or a new game for the journey ahead. Best of all, the service will be free to start, with the long-term goal of making it self-sustainable to allow for expansion to more stations and other places, with RailTel and more partners, in the future.  

This map shows the first 100 stations that will have high-speed Wi-Fi by the end of 2016

We think this is an important part of making the Internet both accessible and useful for the more than 300 million Indians already online, and the nearly one billion more who are not.

But it’s not the only piece. To help more Indians get access to affordable, high-quality smartphones, which is the primary way most people there access the Internet, we launched Android One last year. To help address the challenges of limited bandwidth, we recently launched a feature that makes mobile webpages load faster and with less data, and we’ve made YouTube available offline with offline Maps coming soon.

To help make web content more useful for Indians, many of whom don’t speak English, we launched the Indian Language Internet Alliance last year to foster more local language content, and have built greater local language support into our products—including Hindi Voice Search, an improved Hindi keyboard and support for seven Indian languages with the latest versions of Android. And finally, to help all Indians reap the benefits of connectivity, we’ve been ramping up efforts to help women, who make up just a third of Internet users in India today, get the most from the web.

Just like I did years ago, thousands of young Indians walk through Chennai Central every day, eager to learn, to explore and to seek opportunity.  It’s my hope that this Wi-Fi project will make all these things a little easier.   

Posted by Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google.