India has more people looking for content online than the amount of content available, said Ben Gomes, the head of Google‘s Search and Assistant. Gomes said the internet major is helping to create an ecosystem to build the type of content people from across the country are searching for.
“One of the challenges in India is that a lot of people are getting online faster than the content they want being created. This is different from other countries,” said Gomes, who is among the earliest engineers who worked on the PageRank, which helped Google become profitable and the most used search engine.
India has over 400 million internet users, with over 40 million new users being added every year. In May, Google said search traffic from smaller towns has overtaken those from metros.
“India is an interesting place in that there is good access to connectivity but no good access to content. There are challenges in asking a query and many sites face this,” said Gomes, who graduated in the 1980’s from Bengaluru. “The good thing is that technology can be developed to solve these challenges.”
He said though machine translation can be used to get more English content translated to regional languages, there are technical challenges in ensuring the accuracy of the translated content. That is something Google is trying to solve, Gomes said.
” Translation can make content that is available elsewhere available here too. Large amount of content is universal. But a fair bit of content needs to be localised. We are working with local creators in India to make sure good content is created,” he said.
“We want to take offline content and make it available online. We are working with content owners to help them bring their content online. We are hoping that content gets openly available,” he said.
“Our goal in search is to give you the highest quality authoritative information. We are constantly improving our algorithm to do that.”
Gomes joined Google in its infancy after the startup was recommended by another Bengalurean, Krishna Bharat, who created Google News. Bharat, who set up Google’s India engineering centre in Bengaluru, has rejoined the company after leaving it five years ago. “It’s come a full circle. He’s back in Google,” said Gomes.