Over the last few years, improved connectivity and more affordable data have paved the way for India’s startup ecosystem to scale and solve for the needs of the country’s growing number of internet users. And now, in a matter of a few months, the pandemic has not only accelerated internet adoption, it has also expanded how people use the internet to get things done in their daily lives. All over the country, people are embracing new ways of doing things like virtual learning, making online payments and buying groceries online.
In the last two years alone, 100 million new internet users have come online from rural India. Data shows that rural consumption now accounts for roughly 45 percent of overall mobile data usage in the country, and is primarily focused on online video. But many of these internet users continue to have trouble finding content to read or services they can use confidently, in their own language. And this significantly limits the value of the internet for them, particularly at a time like this when the internet is the lifeline of so many people.
Teams at Google have been working over the years to solve this challenge in a number of ways. We’ve built new products and features that enable people to create, consume and communicate more effortlessly across more Indic languages, and through that, better serve not just the needs of over a billion people in India, but many more people around the world.
And we’re also eager to support the wider ecosystem in India, particularly local startups innovating in this space. When we shared details of the India Digitization Fund in July this year, we identified enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in their own language, whether it’s Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Gujarati, and more as a key pillar in order to drive forward India’s digitization.
This is why we’re pleased to announce investments in leading Indian startups Glance Inmobi and VerSe Innovation, enabling them to further scale the availability of relevant and engaging content in different formats across various Indic languages. Glance Inmobi delivers visual, immersive and localized content experiences across products like Glance and Roposo, while VerSe Innovation serves vernacular content in 14 languages through platforms like the Dailyhunt and Josh apps.
These investments underline our strong belief in partnering deeply with India’s innovative startups, and our commitment to working towards the shared goal of building a truly inclusive digital economy that will benefit everyone.
Posted by Caesar Sengupta, VP, Google