Google India had introduced voice search in Hyderabad in 2008, wherein people could call up a toll free number and search for local businesses. Google India had also launched SMS channels service that enables users to create their own SMS channel or receive SMS updates from Google News and even blog feeds. The company had also launched the ‘Women in Engineering Award’ in January 2009 to recognise women in the field of computer science and engineering in India.
Taking such initiatives further, 2009 has seen Google India flagging off its ‘Internet Bus’ project from Chennai with an aim to educate people, particularly new users, about the power of the Internet as a medium.
Speaking exclusively with exchange4media.com, Parminder Singh, Business Head, Google India, shares his priorities for 2009-10 and how Google India is reaching out to the Tier II and Tier III segments.
Speaking at length about Google India’s plans, Singh explained “The year 2008 has been great year for us, it has been a year where we have established our ties with advertisers and companies, we had also launched several initiatives, which formed great resonance with our advertisers, for instance an initiative like ‘Digital Base’ – where we have held education workshop for advertisers in their offices to make them understand the power of the Internet – has found great resonance, and as a result, our customer base has grown significantly.”
He further explained, “In 2009, we plan to continue to work in the same direction as well as in 2010. However, there are three important brackets where my priorities lay. I am focusing on education, integration and expansion. In terms of education, the Internet medium is evolving rapidly, therefore, there is need for a constant dialogue with our advertisers to keep them abreast of the latest developments. Secondly, integrate – online and offline mediums should work together. Online mediums should not see themselves in isolation, in fact, what you do offline has an impact online and vice-versa. Thirdly, our focus is to expand, online so far has proved to be a great medium for demand and customer satisfaction, understanding the state of mind of the customers, the dialogue and discussion with customers, getting product feedback or pure branding. How to expand this further is what we are going to look into.”
Although Google went mobile long time back – whether through Adsense for mobile applications or through India Maps – Google aims to leverage the significant growth seen in terms of traffic on Google through mobile Internet, and one of the ways of leveraging is to provide education about the medium to advertisers and make sure that the number of queries on mobile Internet reaches a critical point.
“Mobile is all about instant gratification, so we are ensured that the ad format we have also gives instant gratification for advertisers, and the advertisers are responding to it very well. We see 3G as something that will accelerate the penetration of the Internet and all the innovations that we continue to do – be it in terms of access, Gmail, transliteration, mobile, advertising – it will only stand to benefit once 3G services are rolled out,” Singh pointed out.
Speaking about recent initiatives, he added, “We are working with marketing and advertising agencies to make sure we are making the power of this medium well understood to the marketing and advertising agencies. We have launched a plan called ‘Display Brand Net’ strategy, which, I believe, is a very interesting way of advertising for a company that wants to consolidate its brands.”
Google India is also focusing heavily on social media given its tremendous growth and scope. For instance, Orkut and YouTube together are seen as providing very interesting ways for advertisers to reach out to their brands, particularly the younger lot.