Google has bulked up its leadership team in India with various numbers of key hires, even the social media giant facebook and the best messaging platform WhatsApp are struggling to build their local teams in India. The former Managing Director Sajith Sivanandan, at Google for Vietnam, Malaysia and Philippines along with the new emerging markets has relocated to Bangalore as the head of payments and the access service in India. The internet giant has also brought Ambarish Kenghe from Flipkart-owned Myntra for leading the product development for its UPI based payment niche, Google Play.
The former co-founder and the product management lead, Mr. Kenghe for the Google’s Chrome cast based at the company’s headquarters in the Mountain View, California had joined Myntra in the year 2015 as the chief product officer of the ecommerce firm. Since last year, Google has raised its focus on building the products for India that it looks to take globally that has led the company for the first time in its 15 year journey in India for making many key appointments in the senior leadership roles in the country.
The general manager of the payments and the vice-president for Next Billion Users, Caesar Sengupta told that the company was heavily invested for supporting the growth of India’s digital payments ecosystem. “One instance of that is the leadership team we are putting in place in India. A team that has a wealth of experience and deep understanding of India and the next billion users,” said Sengupta.
The founder CEO of Halli Labs, Pankaj Gupta which is a Bangalore based artificial intelligence startup which the company acquired in the month of July the previous year is appointed as the director of Engineering, Next Billion Users, Google India. Munish Seth who was recently serving Facebook as the regional head-APac for connectivity solutions, and led Express Wi-Fi programme in India, has also joined Google as the new country director for Android and will be responsible for driving partnerships with handset makers. At its flagship Google for India event last week, the company announced a facility for customers to get instant loans from their banks through the Google Pay app and released a stripped-down version of its latest operating system, Andriod Pie, called Andriod Pie Go.
It also unveiled a bilingual Google Assistant which can interchange seamlessly between Hindi and English and a variant of the Assistant in Marathi. It onboarded Samsung to the Android Go platform and launched Navlekha, an initiative to enable regional languages content firms to publish online quickly. “The future of internet is reflected right here in India. Truly India inspires the world,” Sengupta had said at the event, summing up the launches.
Google, which connected 400 railway stations in the country with high-speed internet, will now connect more than 12,000 villages and around 10 million people in Andhra Pradesh in partnership with Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet. After its launch in India, the Google Station project has been rolled out in Mexico, Nigeria, Thailand and Indonesia. Similarly, the company is exploring the launch of its payment product in other countries on the lines of Tez. Sengupta said when Google builds for India, it builds for the world.
Google has been betting big on India as it has already become the second largest internet market though just 390 million of its billion people use the internet actively. This in turn leaves the chunk of population that has come online. Google is also seeing a 270% year-on-year increase in the voice searches in India. This in turn expects 500 million Indian language users for joining the internet for the next two years.