Friday, February 06, 2009

Google India takes the internet to the masses


On Feb 3rd, Google launched the "Internet Bus Project". Simply put, this is a campaign to take the internet - quite literally on wheels - right to people in the smaller cities in India who are still not participating in what is now part and parcel of our lives in urban centers. The campaign has been launched in Tamil Nadu where the Bus will visit 15 towns in the next 45 days.

An interesting, and noble, aspect about this initiative is that the focus is the Internet and not Google, per se, as is evidenced by the videos that have been uploaded to the Internet Bus Google page as well as the internetbus channel on youtube (and are shown to visitors on the Bus as well). The video on "Internet for Communication" for example, shows facebook and Yahoo IM as means of social networking and communicating in the same breath as Orkut and Google Talk. Similarly, several sites and online services that work well to make day-to-day life easier for Indians - from online news (in Indian languages in addition to English) to cricket to matrimony to jobs to railways to e-gov - and are showcased in the videos, have nothing to do with Google.

Another worthwhile aspect being highlighted by the Internet Bus is the Indian-language Internet. Communication via the internet, as well as creation and consumption of content in Indian languages, such as Tamil, Hindi, and several others, is possible, but not a well-known feature among certain demographics in India, who perhaps view the internet as a service and convenience that can be enjoyed only in the English language. How many of us have visited the Hindi or Tamil wikipedia (which now has thousands of pages in at least 10 Indian languages, the highest number being in Telugu!)? [On a side note, this 'list of wikipedias' is an interesting page to study.]

The internet is being presented to the Bus visitors in 4 themes - Internet for --
  • Information
  • Communication
  • Education
  • Entertainment
Also showcased are the tools and services for accessing the Internet for information via mobile devices, for example maps, sms, and local services.

With access (computer hardware as well as connectivity) becoming cheaper by the day, and more and more Indic content as well as Indic language tools being made available to Indians (by Google and others), it just does not make sense for the large percentage of Indians in smaller towns to not avail themselves of the affordances of the internet, and to remain marginalized from the global revolution that is the internet.

Go Google! Go Internet Bus! Go India!
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's some press from the launch event in Chennai on Feb 3rd -

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4 comments:

workhard said...

Hello, nice informative post. This is a very interesting approach to promote. Didnt know such kind of campaigns are held in India too.

Haiku Poems

Sarvasiddhi said...

good informative blog

Iovite said...

Hi. Great stuff. I actually stumbled upon your blog accidentally but was amazed by its content. The information was really good and i would love to come back often. So I have given link to your blog from my blog. Same thing is expected from your side for good colleboration & mutual gain.

DIVYA said...

A VERY INFORMATIVE PROJECT WITH LOTS OF INNOVATIONS PRESENTED BY THE INDIAN SCIENTISTS ONLY.
IT PROVIDED REALLY A INTERESTING AND ATTRACTIVE BUS TO CHILDREN AND THE YOUTHS.
http://hostwisely.com