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Google invests in Indian start-ups to scale up availability of content across Indian languages

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Technology behemoth Google has invested in two Indian start-ups—VerSe Innovation and Glance—under its India Digitisation Fund. The investment has been made to enable the two companies to further scale up the availability of content in multiple formats across various Indian languages.

Google has not disclosed details of its latest investments. However, separate announcements by investees—Glance and VerSe— revealed that Google has participated in Glance’s $145 million (about Rs 1,071.5 crore) and VerSe Innovation’s $100 million (about Rs 739 crore) funding rounds.

Glance, a part of SoftBank-backed InMobi Group, has closed a $145 million investment round from Google and existing investor, Mithril Capital. Glance will use the new investment to deepen its AI capability across Glance and Roposo, expand its technology team, launch services on the platform, further strengthen the brand and drive expansion in global markets, the company said in a statement.

VerSe Innovation, which runs Dailyhunt and a short video app Josh, has completed an over $100 million (about Rs 739 crore) funding round from AlphaWave, Google, and Microsoft, and the funding values the company at over $1 billion.

Rs 75,000 cr India Digitisation Fund

Earlier this year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai had announced a $10 billion (Rs 75,000 crore) Google for India Digitisation Fund. The fund is meant to be invested over the next 5-7 years to help accelerate the adoption of digital technologies in India.

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“We are also eager to support the wider ecosystem in India, particularly local start-ups innovating in this space,” Google Vice President Caesar Sengupta said in a blogpost on Tuesday.

“When we shared details of the India Digitization Fund in July this year, we identified enabling affordable access and information for every Indian in their own language, whether it is Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Gujarati, and more as a key pillar in order to drive forward India’s digitisation,” he added.

100 million new internet users

Highlighting that 100 million new internet users have come online from rural India in the last two years, Sengupta said rural consumption now accounts for roughly 45 per cent of overall mobile data usage in the country and is primarily focused on online video.

“But many of these internet users continue to have trouble finding content to read or services they can use confidently, in their own language. And this significantly limits the value of the internet for them, particularly at a time like this when the internet is the lifeline of so many people,” he added.

 

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