Sundar Pichai clean bowled India – whether it’s hosting the Google for India event, or playing cricket at India Gate, or facing the rapid fire questions at SRCC. Pichai’s maiden visit to India after he became the Google CEO in August emphasises that the tech-giant is serious about both its current and future projects that it plans to bring to India.
On a two-day visit to India, the Indian-born CEO emphasised that they are looking speed up Google’s business and also looking at the technological presence, Google will be building a new campus in Hyderabad. The company will also begin to train two million new Android developers over the next three years by working closely with more than 30 universities across India. This will be done with the help of National Skill Development Corporation. Pichai said that soon new virtual keyboard will support about 11 major Indian languages. He predicted that by 2016, there will be more Android users in India compared to the US, but didn’t divulge about the Android One platfrom – Google’s next step.
Pichai focussed on how Google has been unceasingly trying to build on offline technologies with smartphones, to help take the internet offline and available to the masses who have little or zero access to the same. ‘Project Loon’ – which works at bringing the internet to rural areas is set to take off in 2016. “We do work hard to bring our services to India. We're working hard to bring project Loon. Increasingly we also do thing first in India like YouTube Offline which started in India and is now in 77 countries. It is a goal to build things here. We do things we can build here at scale which will apply to the world," he said. Google was in talks with telecom operators and regulatory authorities in the country to bring Project Loon to India, especially for rural areas which lagged in connectivity. Google along with Indian Railways and RaiTel will help to deliver free Wi-Fi at stations to hasten the internet adoption in India. Google promised to deliver Wi-Fi at about a hundred stations by December 2016.
A self-confessed sports buff whose favourite Football team is Barcelona, and favourite player is Lionel Messi, Pichai talked about how at Google plans are made to solve big problems at scale. At the SRCC Delhi, he encouraged everyone to think big. "At Google we always thought about solving problems. We always want to solve problems that would affect a billion people. For Google books, the approach was what if we could bring all of the books online. We would always think about scale,"he said. The father of two reiterated India is central to Google staying relevant in the future. "We try and figure out what is next... It is also one of the reasons why we are so much interested in India because it will define future. That is why we are investing so much here," he said. That’s why he showed great faith in machine learning technology. "Developers are hunting the bloodline of software. India is unique positioned. There's tremendous in software development compared to other countries," said the Google CEO.
Women empowerment was on the top of Google’s list. "The most important thing a country can do nowadays is to help women get online... A lot of people are working for this in India. We are also helping," he said. He encouraged students to take risks as he belives,"It is worthwhile trying to take risks, it may not work out the first time around, but it will work out in the long run," he said.
His interaction with the SRCC crowd also showcased his humorous side, where he joked about running an online poll for the name of the next version of Android which is codenamed N – possibly naming it after an Indian dessert. On being asked about his grades in 12th – Pichai joked that his grades were not enough to get him a place at SRCC!
The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee also praised Pichai on his accomplishments.
“I sincerely thank you, particularly, Mr Pichai and many others who have come to participate. The subject on which you have spoken and various views which have emerged, I have no doubt, will help the policy makers, administrators of the country, to reach at the core point of finding the solution," he said. According to Google's annual year-end zeitgeist which gives a snapshot of the year's major events and hottest trends, Pichai was the most searched business personality in India.