Google's plan to invest Rs 75,000 crore ($10 billion) through Google for India Digitization Fund is an extension and reinforcement of what the company started a few years. Google being a data-centric company, its investments in Indian start-ups and partnerships with leading players have and will help the company not just understand emerging trends of digital India, cater wherever possible as well as create new economic opportunities.
To be spanned over the next five to seven years, the new investment will focus on enabling affordable access and information in the native language, building India relevant products, empowering businesses on their digital transformation, and leveraging technology and AI for social good, in areas like health, education, and agriculture. It will be through a mix of equity investment, partnerships, as well as ecosystem investments.
Slowly yet gradually, India is turning out to be a global launchpad for Google. The services designed and built specifically for the Indian audience to start with are being launched globally. The learnings from India has helped Google improvise its services and roll out to the international markets. For instance, during the 2019's Google for India event, the search giant introduced Google Assistant support for nine Indian languages. Expanding support for regional languages has not just been about helping users with the relevant information but it also helped brands using Ad Sense reach out to the right audience. The learnings from Google Pay are being used to roll out the revamped digital payments service globally. Similarly, the learning-by-reading app for kids, 'Bolo' has now been renamed as 'Read Along' for its debut in 180 countries.
On the investments front, Indian start-ups have been attracting a lot of fundings from big technology companies. Google too investred in concierge service provider Dunzo in 2017 that helped the company understand the logistics, supply chain, and even a bit of e-commerce space. With the war of using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) intensifying, and Google being one of the big players in this space, it acquired Halli Labs the very same year. Halli Labs uses modern AI and ML techniques to address old problems and domains.
For empowering businesses on their digital transformation, Google partnered with Bharti Airtel to offer G-Suite services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This also helped Google grow its cloud consumer base as well as take on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
With rumours doing rounds about Google planning to acquire a stake in a leading telecom player, the new investment plans have only added fuel to the fire.
Over the last years, Google's efforts and products in India has not just helped the country transform digitally but has helped the company grow globally as well. The investments, other than digitisation, will contribute towards economic opportunities too.