Google’s Chinese adventures get a lot of media coverage because of the controversy. Google’s Indian adventures get much less coverage.
Google is into India in a big way. They have four offices in India; Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Shailesh Rao, a director of Local Search from Google’s Californian headquarters, was recently promoted to Managing Director for Google India.
Google have a number of Indian specific ventures too. This blog was once cited by Garett Rogers for talking about Google Cricket. I shouldn’t comment on that but here’s another Google Cricket. This was set up for the World Cup (which is about over – so it’ll be interesting to see whether Google keeps the page live).
Google are working on a simplified search engine for India’s rural community. Media Asia suggests that the alternative search engine is likely to include weather updates, crop patterns and local data.
Ah-ah; weather, crop and local data! Those three sound like Local Search and Shailesh Rao’s speciality.
There are also reports that Google is looking to license content from Indian media. Bollywood, in particular, should be a rich source of video content for Google. If you thought Brazil was important to Orkut then India could be a vital artery to Google Video and YouTube. If American licensing and copyright laws begin to circle around YouTube then deals with the United Kingdom’s BBC and Bollywood would be even more important.