Google’s chief executive Sundar Pichai took to the stage on 4 January in New Delhi, and announced two new initiatives — ‘Digital Unlocked’ and ‘My Business Websites’. For the gathered media, this was a departure from Google’s usual big ticket product launches. His audiences were elsewhere, perhaps in the bylanes of Chandni Chowk or even Zaveri Bazaar in Mumbai. Pichai, in effect, was addressing the 51 million small and medium businesses (SMBs) in India, who have yet to embrace the internet or go digital.
“I think of small businesses as the backbone of India’s economy,” Pichai said, citing examples of entrepreneurs who had benefitted from Google’s tools like search listings and maps.