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There is a hunger in India to have more information and being able to connect, Google Chief Executive Officer Sunder Pichai has said as he promised to deliver high-speed Internet at 500 railway stations in the country.

The hunger for technology was reflected when Google launched Chrome browser some time back and India was the first country to adopt it in major way, he said on Sunday.

“There is a hunger in India to have more information and being able to connect.

“So that is one of the most important things we are working on at Google, how do you bring the web to more people?,” India-born Pichai said at an event at the Google in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“This is why next month we are going to take Android and make it possible for you to type in Android in 11 more languages, including the Prime Minister’s mother-tongue of Gujarati,” 43-year-old alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur said.

“This is why we are all so excited to bring connectivity to India in more places and do that our access and energy team has partnered with Indian railways. . . to bring connectivity to India in railway stations,” he added.

“In most places when you say Indian Railways in India it is the most impressive thing I have seen in my life,” he said, noting that there are 7,500 stations and the total track length is 3.5 times the distance to the moon and back. Twenty five million.

“I remember taking the Coromandel Express every six months. . . to IIT Kharagpur and back.

“So we are very excited that we are starting with 100 of the busiest stations. Ten million passengers go through them every day and we hope to expand and we hope to expand it to 400 stations by the end of next year,” Pichai said.

“We are talking about high-definition [wi-fi], video stre aming being possible on these connections, so this is very, very high speed Internet,” he said.

Modi assured the participants of hackathons his government would like to understand and incorporate whatever they have found and ameliorate the lives of the common man in India.

“It will be our full effort to do this. I can see very clearly the benefits of this kind of technology, through the  Narendra Modi app.

“I am connected with so many people, I get a feedback all the time. I feel that this is the new power of democracy,” Modi added.

We think this is an important part of making the Internet both accessible and useful for the more than 300 million Indians already online, and the nearly one billion more who are not. Even with just the first 100 stations online, this project will make Wi-Fi available for the more than 10 million people who pass through every day. This will rank it as the largest public Wi-Fi project in India, and among the largest in the world, by number of potential users. It will also be fast—many times faster than what most people in India have access to today, allowing travelers to stream a high definition video while they’re waiting, research their destination, or download some videos, a book or a new game for the journey ahead. Best of all, the service will be free to start, with the long-term goal of making it self-sustainable to allow for expansion to more stations and other places, with RailTel and more partners, in the future.

Finally, to help make web content more useful for Indians, many of whom don’t speak English, we launched the Indian Language Internet Alliance last year to foster more local language content, and have built greater local language support into our products—including Hindi Voice Search, an improved Hindi keyboard and support for seven Indian languages with the latest versions of Android. And finally, to help all Indians reap the benefits of connectivity, we’ve been ramping up efforts to help women, who make up just a third of Internet users in India today, get the most from the web.



  2. Image: Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) shakes hands with Google CEO Sundar Pichai at the Google campus in Mountain View, California September 27, 2015.

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