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India will have more Android users than the US by 2016: Sundar Pichai

On his first visit to his native country since taking over as CEO of the restructured Google in August, Sundar Pichai had some grand plans for India. At the Google India event held in New Delhi, Pichai said that by 2016 India will have more Android users than the US. He believes that India to be a rather important market of the digital age, and kept on stressing the importance of Internet connectivity across the country.

“Mobile internet can be a game changer. Our focus 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,” said Google CEO Sunder Pichai.

India’s web user base is undeniably on a constant rise since the rapid spread of smartphones. Analysts project that the country will surpass 400 million internet users by year end, as its to geared overtake the US to become the second largest Internet market in the world. The company has also joined hands with the Indian government to launch a huge Digital India program so that their technology reaches the remotest regions of the country.

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Pichai further added that the company’s rural internet initiative Project Loon, will turn into a full-scale programme stretching across 300,000 villages in India. Project Loon is essentially a network of high-altitude balloons, which will help connect villages and towns that are deprived of fiber-optic infrastructure. Google has also agreed to provide free public Wi-Fi spots at 400 train stations in the country, 100 of which will start functioning by December next year.

“India is at the center of a digital revolution today, with millions of Indians getting online every month. India has always been key for Google, and we continue to work towards evolving our product offerings for the unique needs of our users,” Google said in a media note.

Meanwhile, Google will also be hiring more engineers, build a ‘huge’ campus in Hyderabad ramp up the company’s R&D facility in Bangalore, Pichai said during his India visit.