Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Google, South-East Asia spoke about ‘Building for the Next Billion’ and the challenges India faces in the digital domain at the 10th Digital Summit organised by IAMAI in New Delhi.
Speaking about the future of digital landscape in India, he said, “India’s Internet user base needs to double by the year 2020. In the last year China has 650 million users and it is expected that in five years India will surpass this number. The next wave of users will be very different from the current user base because they are expected to use only their smartphones.”
While elaborating about the need to make internet easily accessible to vernacular users too, Anandan elaborated, “In the last quarter it was noticed that the Hindi data content users grew by 30% whereas English data content users grew only by 10%. This affirms the need for the vernacular languages to be present in smartphones and on the data. Moreover, While in urban India about 30% of users are women, in rural India only 10% of women have access to smartphones and Internet and at Google they aim to bring more women online.”.
He also emphasized on the need to build for slower networks as 55% of Indian users use 2G networks and how a product needs to work even when you’re not connected i.e. you’re offline. He elucidated on the topic with the example of Google’s fastest growing product – YouTube offline stating that Google plans to take everything offline.
Highlighting the need for optimized products and affordable data he added how for most people in the country, even 300 rupees data plan for a month is a lot of money to shell out. He spoke about Google’s ‘Search Lite’ and how it detects the speed of network on a user’s phone while consuming 5 times lesser data and running at 30% faster speed.
Speaking about Google’s new initiative along with the Indian Government called ‘Railtel’, which was recently launched in Mumbai, Anandan added, “RailTel provides people with free and optimized WiFi at the railway stations for better connectivity and accessibility. Moreover, Internet has the potential to impact livelihood and create financial inclusion.”