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.

AUTHOR

Venkat Ananth

Venkat is currently in his tenth year in journalism. Prior to The Ken, he was Deputy Content Editor at Mint as part of the newspaper’s digital team. He also wrote in-depth features on the business of sport for the newspaper. His earlier assignments include Yahoo! (as a columnist) and the Hindustan Times, where he began his career. Born in Mumbai, Venkat holds a Bachelor of Mass Media (Journalism) degree from SIES College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Mumbai and a Master of Arts degree in International Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London. He currently resides in New Delhi, where he moved nearly five years ago.

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