Google CEO Sundar Pichai announces Digital Unlocked to help SMEs go online

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday announced Digital Unlocked, a plan to help small and medium enterprises in India understand how online works and go digital. The online training compromises 90 training videos as well as an eight-hour classroom training programme along with FICCI.

“When I was growing up in Chennai information was scarce. But now that has changed, thanks to the Internet,” remarked Sundar Pichai at the event.

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“The Internet is a powerful equaliser and we are motivated to bring the benefits of information and technology to as many people as possible. Building for everyone and making it available in the hands of as many people is at the heart and core of what we do. And we do this by investing in open ecosystems,” he added.

India’s Information and Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was also present at the Google event. Prasad urged Google to also look into the issue of cyber-security and strengthen that area well.

“With the internet, the even small business can become large,” he added. Pichai gave the example of how the Walnut app in India saw massive growth from 2 million to 5 million users post demonetisation.

SMEs will need to register on the Digital Unlocked website. Google had a workshop going on for businesses at the event itself and plans to certify 100 businesses by end of the day.

The search giant has planned 5000 workshops in 40 cities across India. There will be an app as well, called Primer, available on iOS and Android in Hindi and English. Tamil, Telugu and Marathi versions are being developed. The free app works offline and will allow business owners to try out advanced and basic courses for going digital on the go.

Another initiative from the search giant is GoogleMyBusiness which will ensure SMEs are listed on Google, even if they don’t always have their own websites. Google says 40,000 SMEs are listed on the search engine already. It will also help businesses to create their own mobile-ready website, based on the data in the listing.