Today in India Times, Google CEO Sundar Pichai published a piece discussing the importance of the Indian market. In it, he drew from his own childhood and segued neatly into the current issues the country is facing. However, never one to be deterred by complications, Pichai chooses to view these challenges as opportunities.
The takeaway phrase from the think piece is that Pichai is convinced that “the best innovations come from the most surprising places.” Pichai cites one Advay Ramesh, who was a 14-year-old boy living in Chennai. Ramesh was aware that the local fishermen were in a constant struggle with a bevy of complicated maritime borders. Many fishermen had accidentally run afoul of the law, and some had even been detained, all for trespassing into international waters.
Even as a 14-year-old, Ramesh saw an opportunity for progress inherent in this problem. Inspired by technology like Google Maps, Ramesh developed a custom tablet that would warn fishermen when they were nearing those tricky borders.
We live in an age where a 14-year-old in Chennai has access to satellite geolocation technology, and they are using it to innovate. As Pichai points out, when he was growing up in India, it was difficult to even gain access to a computer.
Pichai listed the technological benefits that have come to India in the intervening years, including Google’s projects to bring wifi to train stations and introduce technical training programs in the area. But India still isn’t as connected to the rest of the world as are places like the US or the UK.
India still isn’t as connected to the rest of the world as are places like the US or the UK.
By acknowledging spotty mobile coverage and a lack of ubiquitous internet accessibility, Google has created workarounds in their popular service like Maps and YouTube by creating offline variants so that Indian users can stay on their devices even when they’re disconnected.
Pichai’s point is that, although the mobile phone market has peaked, there is still plenty of room for development and innovation in India. The solutions created in this landscape of trials and tribulations can be applied elsewhere in the global market, and by expanding technological services in India, more young innovators like Ramesh will gain access to the resources they need to make a meaningful impact on the world. No matter how you spin it, in Pichai’s view, investing in the Indian tech market is a win for the global community.
What do you think of Pichai’s thoughts on India and innovation? Let us know your take in the comments below!