"Internet is the most disruptive technology of all times," says Vinay Goel, Google India's Head of Products

26th Aug 2010
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Nasscom EMERGEOUT Delhi 2010 SpecialNasscom EMERGEOUT keynote

Vinay Goel, Head of Products, Google India, set the wet Delhi alive at the Nasscom EMERGEOUT conclave by rolling out numbers to justify why Internet is going to change the way the world works in the next 10 years. Internet is used by 26% of the world population compared to 1.7% ten years ago. He added that 30% of the people are online in 16 top countries using Internet. Interestingly, people across the world spend 2 billion hours on social media. He cited the example of Delhi Police setting up a Facebook Fan Page to detect traffic violations. The page, with a member base of 1700 people, was able to generate 3000 photos showing traffic violations and the police were able to book 665 cases.

Commenting on the other mass technology that has completely changed our cultural outlook -- the mobile phones --- Mr. Goel said that two-thirds of the people who use this device sleep with it on their bedside. This apart, two-thirds of the world's population uses mobile phones. In 2020, 5 billion Internet users will have access to speeds upwards of 1 Gbps and the net would get 560 times faster than what it is today.

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Stating that the Internet is the most disruptive technology of all times, Mr. Goel added that it has replaced the economics of scarcity with economics of ubiquity. Talking about Google's approach in the next 10 years, he said Google's vision will always be customer-centric. The customer market always dominates compared to the enterprise market and he advised software companies to look at customer-centric technologies for their growth. He cited the example of Twitter, a customer-focused, reaching a tremendous level of popularity.Then, he listed his predictions for the future.

1. Web is going to be superfast

Mr. Goel said that the web is going to get superfast in the coming years. Interestingly, Finland has a legislation that allows its citizens access to 1 Mbps speed of Internet. This is perhaps the only country to have a legislation governing Internet access. This presents great opportunities for entrepreneurs to look at this space as even mobile users are increasingly using mobile Internet for revenue transactions.

2. Speed matters

Four out of five people are likely to navigate away from a page if the video is going to buffer and Amazon has confirmed that a 100 ms delay in its order fulfilment leads to 1% drop in sales. India ranks 97th in the world in terms of Internet speed and North Korea leads with 14 Mbps speed.

He gave an important insight into Google rankings. The rankings are also based on the speed at which website loads and also the apps that load in the webpage.

3. Web is mobile

With 4.6 billion users of mobile phones worldwide, the mobile market will attract 1 billion users to mobile Internet. Google's analysis of traffic shows that the Internet traffic from Indonesia and Nigeria is through mobile phones. The mobile phones are likely to surpass PC sales by 2012. Mr. Goel said location-based services tripled the traffic on Google. Asking emerging businesses to have a mobile first mantra for future, he rightly predicted that mobile is going to create the next wave on the Internet.

4. Web is impossible

Stating that the web has an impossible amount of data to be processed or manipulated, he said that future services would get even better. For example, Google translation service would help overcome language barriers. If you have a French menu that you can't read while in a restaurant, simply take a picture of the menu card and send it to Google translation. You will get the translated menu within seconds. These kind of services would become increasingly possible.

5. Web is the platform

Mr. Goel said the web apps are cheaper to build, faster to implement, and easier to integrate. Till sometime ago, moving data to cloud was a challenge. Nowadays, enterprises put even the sensitive salary data on cloud. Sharing and collaboration through documents and spreadsheets on the cloud is another development. HTML 5 will make it easier for apps to run on the browser as opposed to installed desktop software.

In effect, the power of Internet would be to transform and enable change. Various possibilities arise as Internet speeds get superfast and mobile phones are becoming minicomputing devices.

-- Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy's report from the conclave venue

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