Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Friday said it is important to have a balance between open internet and regulations that can help support the open exchange of ideas and create opportunities. Speaking at the HT Leadership Summit 2021, Pichai said the tech giant remains committed to playing a strong enabling role in supporting growth of the Indian market through various efforts across cloud, AI and Android.
“As tech has scaled up and is touching people’s lives in a deeper way, it’s natural that there needs to be rules of the road. And I think it’s a natural part of the process, it makes sense to me that countries think about the concerns of its own citizens and want regulations to make sure it works well for their people,” Pichai said.
He added that it’s important to also understand that free and open internet has helped connect the world and create opportunities. “…that’s the balance with which we need to engage and work through, where we can find regulations, which help support the open exchange of ideas. The way the internet works today is obviously ideal, but it makes sense that democratic countries are thinking through what makes sense for the country,” he noted. He stated that balance is important and as a large company, Google deals with many regulatory systems in different countries.
“I view it as an important role for Google to be local, and engage in every country with the best interest of the country too…we are deeply committed to engaging in every country locally, complying with local laws,” Pichai said.
Asked about opportunities in India, the top executive said it’s heartening to see the number of startups proving themselves on a global stage and unicorns getting created.
“It’s an exciting time in India. For us, we want to help in a few ways. Last year, we committed USD 10 billion to the India Digitisation Fund and as part of that, we want to support companies in India, solving newer things, we want to provide them with AI and technologies and platforms so that they can scale up their ideas and reach more users,” he said.
Pichai added that the company is investing in foundational infrastructure, and that a lot of its services would allow people to export outside of India.
“I view India as a place where over time, we will be able to build things and take it globally. The first example of that, for us was Google Pay…we invested in Google Pay, and the foundation of that app and experience is what is making its way to our other markets around the world. And so I’m excited about building for India first, and also building in India to solve problems globally as well,” he explained.
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