For Rajan Anandan, managing director and VP (sales and operations) at Google India, the SME and mobile segments are throwing immense opportunities. From an SME perspective, Anandan says Google's intent in India is to make it an 'online and mobile first' advertisement market. In an interview with Shivani Shinde, he talks about Google's mobile push, SME focus and the hot-and-cold vibes that it shares with the government. Edited excerpts:
You said on an average an Indian smartphone user spends 72 minutes a day for accessing the internet, but isn't it only for social networking?
The Indian mobile users have evolved over the past few years. According to a Nielsen survey, of that 72 minute, 80 per cent of time is spent on searching products and services. Less than 30 per cent is spent on social media platforms. India has 137 million Internet users, of which 70 million are mobile internet users. Out of this 70 million, 20 million access internet only through mobiles. The BFSI survey we have done shows mobile queries going up by 3x times.
Google recently launched its mobile advertisement platform in India.
Our mobile foray has two components, GoMo and 'Let's talk about Mo'. There are three pillars to our mobile foray. The first is educating the advertisers about the mobile platform and for that, we have been doing road-shows. This is important as many advertisers are now getting digital, and we are already moving to the mobile platform.
The second part is, under the 'Let's talk about Mo' initiative, we launched the GoMoMeter, which is a website testing tool. You can enter your website URL and it lets you know how mobile ready your website is. Many companies have websites, but they do not work well on phones. Most of the websites in India are not mobile ready. GoMo (Go Mobile) basically helps customers to improve their websites and be mobile ready. In case of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), we build mobile-ready websites.
How has been the response so far?
The response has been fantastic. We have had hundreds of brands, including large brands, using our GoMoMeter.
SME is the other big focus for Google India. How are you taking the mobile offering there?
SMEs are adopting digital in a large way. Mobile is much easier for them. Our intent in India is to make SME an online first, mobile first advertisement market. Here is the reason. India has 12 million SMEs with five employees or more. Only 150,000 advertise in any medium. 10,000 advertise on TV, 7,000 advertise on radio and 103,000 advertise on print. Ideally, all of 12 million should advertise to drive revenue for their business.
For SMEs, the advantage of online and mobile advertisement is that it brings down the cost dramatically, and it is entirely performance-based. If they don't get a lead they do not pay. That explains the advertisement part for SMEs, the other offering we have is cloud services. We already have over 200,000+ SMEs on our cloud services. They are already using services like Mail and docs.
Microsoft's AppFest created world record recently and is going aggressive with Windows 8 release nearing. What are your plans?
We are very focussed on the Android ecosystem. We believe that you need to have a killer product and app developers will get excited about the platform. There are 500 million users today using Android. That's a pretty decent number. Our focus is on how do we get more users on the android platform.
Of course we will also launch the Android market place in India. You will hear some announcement on that over the next several months. I can only say that the world record pale's in front of the app developers we have on Android.
A major concern of the government is that companies like Google takes a lot of time to respond to legal issues...
I think we have been working with the government. I know there have been concerns on both sides. But if you take some of the most recent issues, we were very responsive. When we were notified about such requests we have acted immediately. Of course we have an internal process, but we do have an accelerated response. The world is also learning to deal with Internet. But we are very clear that we will always follow local law, we are here to stay and we want to make Internet more and more useful to businesses and people.