Pichai promises free public Wi-Fi connectivity at 100 railway stations and more, at the Google for India event

Technology giant Google will bring Internet connectivity to 100 railway stations across the country by next year, its CEO Sundar Pichai today said.

This is part of the US-based firm's focus on bringing Internet to everyone in India, which has the world's second largest population.

"100 stations will have Wi-Fi by December 2016. Mumbai Central (station) to go live by January. This is in partnership with RailTel," Pichai said at a Google for India

The telecom wing of the Indian Railway, RailTel, had signed an agreement with the subsidiary of Google India to provide Wi-Fi facilities at 400 stations across the country.

During his two-day visit, Pichai will meet President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He will also address students at a Delhi University college.

"Our focus is on bringing Internet access to everyone, making sure our products are working for them in a meaningful way and then ensure our platform allows them to add their voice to the Internet," the India-born CEO said.

Pichai, who is on his maiden visit to India after taking over as the CEO of Google earlier this year, said the company is also expanding its headcount in India, especially in
engineering operations.

"Google is looking at hiring people for Bangalore and Hyderabad... We will also build huge new campus in Hyderabad to build capabilities," he said.

Pichai said as part of Google's efforts to help women get online, the company is expanding bicycle for women programme nationally.

"From a pilot, we will now expand the programme to cover three lakh villages in three years," he said.

The first Indian origin CEO of Google, Pichai, laid out three-step approach to promote Internet in India -- better access to the full Internet, make its product better to suit the Indian market and make it easier for Indians to build solution on its platform like Android and Chrome to resolve local problems.

Besides Wi-Fi networks, Pichai shared that in the first quarter of 2016, Google will release a feature called 'Tap to Translate' that allows the instant translation of any text on the Android phones.

"With Tap to Translate you can copy text anywhere on your Android phone and instantly get the translation, right then and there, without ever leaving the app," Google's Vice President for Next Billion initiative Caesar Sengupta said.

Under the roadmap for India, Google has already launched virtual keyboard that enables people to type in 11 Indian languages.

To encourage development of technological solution linked to local needs, Google announced a programme to train two million new Android developers over the next three years by working closely with more than 30 universities across country in partnership with National Skill Development Corporation.

Google Vice President in India and Southeast Asia Rajan Anandan said by 2018 more than 500 million users will be online from all 29 states and speaking over 23 languages.

"But in 2020, over 30 per cent of mobile Internet will still be from 2G connections. Google has been on a long journey in India to build products that connect more people, regardless of cost, connectivity, language, gender or location," Anandan said.


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