As president of global sales and business development, Nikesh Arora, 42, is leading customer service and revenue operations in Google Inc, which he joined in 2004. The graduate of Varanasi’s BHU Institute of Technology, who is also a board member in Bharti Airtel Ltd, spoke on the search giant’s new initiatives around broadband and mobile technologies and painted a vision of the future an interview at the office Hindustan Times. Excerpts.
So there are big bets in place at Google, it seems.
When we go back, search was a big bet. When things go from a nice-to-have to a must-have, it is going to be big. We saw broadband was going to be big. Then we bet on online video and YouTube is now the second largest search site after Google. Then we saw that 21 per cent of making a phone (mobile) is software, and that you can increase the innovation cycle. We came up with Android to accelerate the process. That is now doing 200,000 phones a day in 90 different countries. Then there is GoogleMaps. It did not exist seven years ago. Today is one of the top mapping services.
Is Google a broadcaster? You almost seem like a media company. And you also seem to be on to something with Google TV.
Google TV is actually a piece of software that resides on set-top boxes or TV and allows you to have much better access. It connects your broadband connection across the Web and the cable (TV) connection. You can access through one interface. It makes television viewing more efficient.
YouTube also seems to be making money and also active in India, with Bollywood shows and IPL (Indian Premier League cricket tournament).
India has 70 million broadband users and it has a long way to go. But then there are 30 to 40 million Indophiles outside India. They have as much interest in Indian programming. And they are spread over 100 countries. Now if an Indian channel, say NDTV, wants to reach them, it has to cut deals with 500 broadcasters across the world. Now you (through YouTube) can get 40 million people at one shot.
So where does Google TV fit into this scenario?
Google TV is an extension of the notion that TV should be intelligent. Three to five years from now, you will be able to buy TVs with broadband connections in them. Each of these TVs will have software to access the Internet. The holy grail is that eventually you’ll be able to make your own programming guide.
Why are you denying data to Facebook?
We are one of the few websites that wants you to go away as far as possible. We can’t hold you for the wrong reasons. But the challenge is that people are building businesses on the back of user data and that is not being reciprocated (a reference to Facebook accessing Google data through software links but not returning the favour).