Google today announced the creation of the Indian Language Internet Alliance (ILIA), a group committed to promoting the growth of Indian-language content online, together with several industry partners. Through its efforts, the ILIA hopes to enable 300 million Indian language speakers to become highly engaged Internet users by 2017.
According to a press release, the ILIA is composed of ABP News, Amar Ujala Publications Ltd, C-DAC, DB Digital, Firstouch, HinKhoj, Jagran Prakashan Limited, LinguaNext Technologies Pvt. Ltd, NDTV, Network 18, Oneindia.com, Patrika Group, Process Nine Technologies Pvt Ltd, Prost Innovation Pvt Ltd, Reverie Language Technologies Private Limited, Times Internet Limited, Ver Se Innovation/NewsHunt, Webdunia.com in addition to Google. The Alliance will work together to accelerate building Indic language content for the hundreds of millions of Indians who will be coming online for the very first time, mostly via smartphones and mobile devices.
In addition to encouraging more Indian language users to come online with the ILIA, Google also plans to make products for Indic language speakers. Today, Google also showcased demos of Voice Search in Hindi and also launched a website- www.hindiweb.com, for Hindi speaking Internet users to discover content across websites, apps, videos and blogs.
Amit Singhal, Google’s Senior Vice President of Search, said, “Our mission at Google is to ensure the world’s information is universally accessible, and this includes the millions of users in India who are about to come online for the first time. Hindi Voice Search will be just one of the many steps Google is taking to empower the Indian language users and advertisers to take advantage of the Web’s huge economic and social potential.”
The press release reveals that currently there are over 200 million Internet users in India, about 16% of its population of 1.2 billion. Practically all of the country’s English-speaking population of 198 million is already online. The remaining 90% of Indians who are not online tend not to be English speakers. In the last year, Indian language Internet users have started to come online rapidly on their smartphones and they are using Indian language keyboards to access and create content in their language. The ILIA hopes to enable more creators to build much more content in Indian languages.
“Google is very committed to bringing new Internet users online in India,” said Rajan Anandan, Vice President and Managing Director of Google India. “The Web holds great potential to empower many Indians economically and socially, and thanks to the smartphone revolution, many millions of Indians will be coming online for the first time in the next few years. Through the Indian Language Internet Alliance, we want to help content creators to act now and build relevant content for these new Indian language mobile users.”