Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday announced a number of measures that he said would help Indians come online and benefit from the internet. Pichai, who is in Delhi to meet government officials and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, said that the company was committed to help more and more Indians come online and use the service to get the right information at the right time.
Among the steps that Google is taking to improve web connectivity in the country, the most urgent and most discernible is its partnership with Indian railways to bring Wi-Fi to commuters using railway stations. While the project was announced earlier on Tuesday, Pichai said that it would be operational in January.
“This is the world’s biggest public Wi-Fi project and we are already putting the required infrastructure for it. As we speak, enters are at work to enable Wi-Fi at Mumbai Central. Wi-Fi at Mumbai Central would be available to commuters from January,” he said.
Pichai said that there were three steps to bring the web connectivity to users. “First is enabling the access. Once people have access to web, we want to make sure that they get right information at the right time. Finally, we want to make sure that people who come online contribute to it, have their say and use it to express themselves,” said Pichai.
He said that that company is re-tooling all of its services keeping these three steps in mind. The Google CEO talked about how the search team at Google has improved the service so that it works better on low-speed connection. He also talked about the effort made by Android team to bring Indic languages to the mobile operating system and the efforts of the YouTube team to enable offline access to videos.
While with the free Wi-Fi at the railway station Google hopes to enable some connectivity in cities, to push web connectivity in the rural areas, the company is going to rely on Project Balloon, said Pichai. Though, recently Indian government said that the Project Loon might not be feasible for India because it interferes with the services offered by telecom operators.
Along with enabling better connectivity, Google is also trying to increase awareness about the internet in India. Pichai said that as part of a pilot project, the company introduced women in a village to internet. “The results were so positive that we are expanding the project and going to cover the whole country. In the next three years we will introduce internet to women in over 3,000 villages,” he said.
Pichai, on his current India visit, will later meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He will also meet students at Delhi’s SRCC on Thursday, answering questions that students may have for him.