Pichai pitches India as hub for Google products  

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Reiterating his vision to help India join the digital bandwagon, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai has said the ongoing investments are a reflection of the company’s confidence in the future of the country and its digital economy, reports Asian Lite News

Reiterating his vision to help India join the digital bandwagon, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai has said the ongoing investments are a reflection of the company’s confidence in the future of the country and its digital economy.

The company, which announced a $10 billion Google for India Digitisation Fund last year, has already invested $4.5 billion for a 7.73 per cent stake in the top telecom network Reliance Jio Platforms, along with recently investing up to $1 billion in Bharti Airtel.

“It is a reflection of our confidence in the future of India, its digital economy, our desire to build products there, which we think will help us globally,” Pichai said during the company’s earnings call late on Tuesday.

On the company’s payment strategy, Pichai said it is thinking deeper about emerging markets like India as it “lines up with our mission of building a more equitable Internet for everyone”.

Pichai is also bullish on YouTube’s future in the country.

“When I look at YouTube in India, some of the commerce ideas we talked about earlier, you may see as the first stride in India first because we can get quicker feedback, a very dynamic, youthful population,” he noted.

“So we’ll do it there (in India) and then roll it out globally. We are constantly looking for opportunities like that,” Pichai added.

YouTube Shorts continues to drive significant engagement for the company globally including in India.

“We just hit 5 trillion all-time views and have over 15 billion views each day globally. This is helping our creator community reach newer and bigger audiences,” Pichai added.

“In 2022, we’ll stay focused on evolving our knowledge and information products, including Search, Maps and YouTube, to be even more helpful,” he added.

Blockchain push

Pichai made his first public comments on web3, saying he is watching the blockchain space and looking at how Google’s parent company can add value to development of the technology that’s being embraced by many of his Silicon Valley peers. “Any time there is innovation, I find it exciting,” Pichai said on Tuesday in response to a question about the technology on Alphabet’s earnings call. “I think it’s something we want to support the best we can.”

Investors have plowed money into companies working on web3, a vision of the internet model built around cryptocurrencies and digital ownership. Many other technology companies, such as Block Inc., Meta Platforms Inc. and Twitter Inc., have embraced this fervor with plans for payments, coins or services that incorporate digital tokens. Google has largely stayed quiet on the topic.

“We are definitely looking at blockchain,” Pichai added. “It’s such an interesting and powerful technology with broad applications.” He cited a recent announcement Google’s cloud division made to win more contracts with companies working on “digital assets.” Google has also started its own team working on blockchain. Pichai didn’t mention cryptocurrencies, which the company currently doesn’t accept for its ads or payments service.

Many web3 evangelists position the nascent technology as an antidote to centralized internet providers like Google. Pichai made his comments after Alphabet posted more than $20 billion in profit during the holiday quarter from its stable of web properties.

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