Google has been at the forefront of the AI revolution with their ‘AI-first’ policies. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has been vocal about the company’s plan to expand in the field of AI, ML and deep learning.
Google is among the leading international tech giants which is at the forefront of expanding their AI reach in countries like India through a number of acquisitions and incubator programme like Google Launchpad Accelerator India programme.
Launched in 2018, through its six months accelerator programme, Google identifies some of the most talented young startups across the country and verticals and nurtures it by leveraging the companies expertise including its network of investors, industry experts and technical professionals.
In its first phase, Google identified as many as 10 startups working for various causes in an attempt to mentor them and a substantial number of them were AI and Ml-based startups. According to a news report, by 2019, the search giant plans to increase the workforce to 13,000 at Hyderabad, the largest headcount outside the US.
Google Looks To India To Solidify Lead In AI & ML
By turning themselves into an active acquirer and mentor in the AI and ML field, Google has ensured it has a major stake in the latest innovation happening in the field, while letting their products such as TensorFlow and Google Cloud Platform be the building blocks of these innovations.
Reiterating the role of AI and ML in shaping the future of startup ecosystem in India, and calling for applicants to for the second edition of Google Launchpad Accelerator India programme, Paul Ravindranath, the India head of the programme said, “As a company, we have AI-first approach and it aligns very well with our expertise, our technology stack and platform and our extended community of mentors. Thus, I expect the focus to continue in 2019. AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) applicability is sector-agnostic and allow an idea to be implemented on a large scale. For markets like India and Africa, these are the main tools to be able to do that.”
With the Indian AI startup market estimated to be worth $180 million annually, Google has also actively roped in other AI-based startups to strengthen their foothold in India. Through strategic investments, acquisitions and partnerships, it is building its presence in India and adding new revenue channels from cloud, AI technology and consumer hardware.
Earlier in 2017, it also was in the news for its acquisition of Bengaluru-based AI startup Halli Labs, which uses AI and ML to find a solution for what they call ‘old problems’. This startups’ acquisition reinstated Google’s message of AI being its core of future market expanding strategy. By welcoming the start-up to their team, representative of the company had tweeted how they wish to build products for their next billions of users with the start-up, a clear suggestive of how the company view AL and ML as a vital aspect of getting traction among next users in the future.
In November 2018, Dunzo, another Bengaluru-based AI startup became the first ever in India to get Google’s direct investment for a startup. According to the recent report, Google finalised the $25 million deal with the startup, clutching it away from Xiomi who was also eyeing the startup.
The biggest bets are being placed on India, a growing economy and the series of acquisitions underscores Google’s India-centric approach. In our opinion, Google’s aggressive acquisitions in the deep tech space shows the search giant wants to capitalise on the growing digital economy, capture data which will lead to new revenue streams. AI and machine learning is critical to improve the long-term future outlook and it is also one of the primary differentiators of Google Cloud Platform, another potential revenue arm for Google in India. As the Mountain View tech giant races to compete in the cloud race against market leader AWS, an AI-centric approach will help Google grow its cloud share in India. The company also invested in network infrastructure for computing in India.
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Akshaya Asokan works as a Technology Journalist at Analytics India Magazine. She has previously worked with IDG Media and The New Indian Express. When not writing, she can be seen either reading or staring at a flower.