Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO is presently in India. This spells good news for Indians as he announced a number of initiatives that Google will be undertaking to help more Indians access the internet.
Google among many other initiatives will collaborate with the Indian Railways to provide WiFi services at 500 railway stations by the end of next year as was promised to PM Narendra Modi during his visit to the Silicon Valley. Mumbai’s Central Railway Station will be the first to get these services by January 2016.
Another initiative called the project Loon aims to provide affordable internet connection access to millions of Indians. Pichai was speaking at the event Google for India in New Delhi. “Project Loon will launch balloons in the sky to reach out to the rural areas”, Pichai told The Business Standard. The aim of the project is to build and spread new internet infrastructure across the world.
Under the project, Google is using big balloons floating at a height of 20 kilometers above earth surface for transmission of Internet services. The company has already tested the technology in New Zealand, California (the US) and Brazil. According to Google, each balloon can provide connectivity to a ground area of about 40 kms in diameter using a wireless communications technology called LTE or 4G.
Additionally, Pichai also said that he wants Indians to connect in their own language. Android, which is the most popular operating system in India already, supports 11 languages. The Vice President of Google Search Tamar Yehoshua who was also present at the event among other executives said that half of the Indian population users have a 2G network connection and the ones who are on 3G complain that the 3G services are as slow as 2G services. He announced that Google is working on solving this issue and is going to make sure that their products are available in all languages and that Google search works across 2G networks.
Google will also collaborate with Tata Trusts and expand the latter’s program to connect women in rural areas through a fleet of internet bikes. The internet bikes are used to provide basic training on the usage and benefits of the internet to women in rural India. This initiative which was launched in August 2015, has been called Internet Saathi (Internet Friend). Through the initiative internet bicycles that are specially-designed has been deployed in remote villages in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jharkhand to provide easy internet access to women.