Google has initiated its 2020 edition of India-specific announcements, with its first virtual keynote of Google For India. The event is being streamed live on YouTube, with Google CEO Sundar Pichai underlining Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of Digital India. On this note, Google is underlining the work it has done to bring over 26 million small and medium businesses online. Google is also underlining its work on spreading internet connectivity to the fringe areas of India, along with its work on using technology to promote education, agriculture and more.
2:55PM IST: Sanjay Gupta, country head and VP of Google India further underlined all of Google's India specific announcements from earlier today. With a clear focus on education technologies, agriculture-specific AI application and technological implementations, Google signed off by stating that they want to make the internet "helpful for a billion Indians". With that, it's a wrap for 2020's India specific announcements from Google.
2:45PM IST: Chadha has highlighted a new 'blended learning' initiative in partnership with India's Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), where the combined form of online and classroom learning will cover 1 million teachers across 22,000 schools across India to impart education to students. Google has also announced an added $1 million grant for localised education research, while will be offered via the Kaivalya Education Trust.
2:40PM IST: Sapna Chadha, senior marketing director of Google India, has highlighted Google India's work with a specialised 'Teach From Home' hub, wherein Google has offered a localised terminal for teachers and students to continue education through times of Covid-19. The hub is designed to streamline internet connectivity, collate study material in local Indian languages (courtesy Google.org's $12 million grants to create such content), and pull together a full fledged education offering of remote learning. The learning platform is available already in seven Indian languages. Chadha has also highlighted how Google's 'Bolo' app, meant for students to learn new languages, read study materials and read along has created a full ecosystem for Google, with the service now being offered as 'Google Read Along' in 180 nations.
2:35PM IST: Sengupta further highlighted Google's small business-specific Grow With Google venture, which is reportedly designed specially for small businesses to use internet tools without making massive investments in technological infrastructure.
2:30PM IST: Caesar Sengupta, vice president of product management at Google, highlighted how Google's role has helped create over 1.6 million jobs, and how Google Pay has become a key mode of payment, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Sengupta has further highlighted how features such as Google's optimised 'find nearby store' has helped localise and contextualise technology for India. Sengupta also spoke about 'jobs', which are reportedly helping companies unite with potential recruits swiftly.
2:20PM IST: Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is now speaking about Google's work towards promoting India's digital innovation opportunities. He has highlighted Google's application of AI in healthcare technologies, agriculture, weather prediction, digital education and other critical fields as a key area through which India can progress its digital journey.
The minister is also talking about digital skilling as a great opportunity that is yet to be fully exploited to realise India's true potential in cutting edge technologies. On this note, Prasad has highlighted the role that Google's Digitisation Fund for India can play in this ecosystem.
Sharma also spoke about Pichai's foundation in India and his journey to becoming a global CEO, and stated that this key aspect can further help Google understand India's unique needs better.
2:10PM IST: "Building India-first products have helped us to make better products for the entire world," said Pichai, underlining how India's very specific technology needs are bringing better products to the world. Pichai also underlined the importance of Google's translation and live transcription tools to improve their overall technologies, with India's diversity helping Google train its algorithms in regional languages.
Pichai further unveiled Google's Google For India Digitisation Fund, which will be primarily working to invest in localised businesses that use specialised technologies to solve niche areas such as agricultural problems, education and literacy issues, and more. The investment arm will pool in Rs 75,000 crore to invest in a wide variety of Indian businesses.
Earlier today, PM Modi tweeted about having a conversation with Pichai on Google's role in India's technology narrative. The key point that he emphasised was "leveraging the power of technology to transform the lives of India’s farmers, youngsters and entrepreneurs."