Aimed at bringing 300 million people online, search giant Google Inc. has partnered content providers like ABP News and Amar Ujala, along with government agency, Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) to make regional content available on Internet.
Google, which currently offers voice search in English, has also added Hindi language service and plans to other languages like Tamil, Marathi and Bengali to the list in coming months. “India has about 200 million Internet users with about 5 million new users being added every month with 100 per cent coming through mobile devices. At this pace, India will overtake the US in terms of number of users in the next 12 months,” Google India vice president and managing director Rajan Anandan said. However, only 198 million people in the country are estimated to be proficient in English with most of them already on the Internet, he added.
With that in mind, the Indian Language Internet Alliance (ILIA) has been formed, he said. “The group is committed to promoting the growth of Indian- language content online. ILIA hopes to enable 300 million Indian language speakers to become highly engaged Internet users by 2017,” he said.
The Alliance will work together to accelerate building Indian language content for Indians who will come online for the very first time, mostly via smartphones and mobile devices. “If Internet is available in Indian languages, then the Internet usage will go up to 50 crore and it is possible.
This will help in realisation of digital India initiative of the government. It is an important initiative,” information and broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar said. As a part of its efforts, Google showcased demos of voice search in Hindi and launched a website “www.hindiweb.com” to help Hindi-speaking Internet users discover Hindi content across websites, apps, videos and blogs.
“India is a significant market for us and is growing at a strong pace. Internet is empowering and that is why we want to take Internet to the next billion,” Google senior vice president search Amit Singhal said. He added the alliance will help content creators build relevant content for these new Indian language mobile users. “Its a catch 22 situation. There is not enough regional content and current user base is also small. Through ILIA, we want to address both the issues,” he said.