Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on Wednesday that Google wants to use India as a testing ground for its products as the U.S. tech giant targets hundreds of millions of consumers in the developing world.
“We think that what we build in India will apply to many global places,” Indian-born Pichai, told reporters at an event in New Delhi.
Internet penetration has reached nearly 90% in most developed markets which has forced Google, Facebook, and other internet-based companies to begin penetrating under-developed regions.
Google expects more than 500 million Indians to be online by 2018, up from around 300 million today. Pichai said that with most new users accessing the internet via cheap smartphones instead of desktops, poor mobile connectivity is forcing the company to adapt how it structures and sells its software.
Pichai says Google wants to figure out how to deliver better products to consumers in India. Users tend to access the internet in the country by way of cheap smartphones instead of desktops.
Tech adopters in India are also faced with poor mobile connectivity, which has led to Google thinking outside of the box in terms of delivering its products to consumers in the country.
Google’s CEO said the company would train two million Indian developers for its Android operating system by 2019. Google also plans to promote internet use among rural women in thousands of villages, and expand its campus in the southern city of Hyderabad to get more people online.
“It’s about making sure that as the next one billion come online, they have access,” Pinchai says.
Among Google’s biggest victories in the region so far are user-generated maps and a version of YouTube that allows for easier access wtih limited internet capabilities. That version of YouTube allows for offline video playback.
Google is also involved in a partnership with Indian Railways that will bring wireless internet service to more than 100 train stations.