Google building up team for greater India play
Google has recently bulked up its India leadership team with several key hires, even as the social media network Facebook and its instant messaging platform WhatsApp are struggling to build local teams in the country. Caesar Sengupta, General Manager of payments and Vice-president for Next Billion Users, said the company was heavily invested in supporting the growth of India's digital payments ecosystem. Google, which connected 400 railway stations in the country with high-speed internet, will now connect more than 12,000 villages and around 10 million people in Andhra Pradesh in partnership with Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet. After its launch in India, the Google Station project has been rolled out in Mexico, Nigeria, Thailand and Indonesia. Similarly, the company is exploring the launch of its payment product in other countries on the lines of Tez. Google is betting big on India because it is already the second-largest internet market though just 390 million of its 1.3 billion people use internet actively. This leaves a large chunk of the population which has to still come online. Moreover, Google has been seeing a 270 per cent year-on-year increase in voice searches in India. It expects 500 million Indian language users to join the internet over the next two years.