Google India Pvt. Ltd, the tech giant’s local unit, reported a 29% increase in revenue for the financial year 2017-18 as it looks to expand its online search and advertisement business in local languages in the country.
Total income for the year through March rose to Rs 9,337.7 crore from Rs 7,239.5 crore for 2016-17, according to filings to the Registrar of Companies. The pace of growth in 2017-18 was faster than the 22% rise the year before. In fact, Google has tripled its revenue since 2013-14, according to VCCEdge, the data research arm of VCCircle.
Net profit shot up 33% to Rs 407.2 crore from Rs 306.6 crore. Total expenditure increased 29% to Rs 8,710.9 crore from Rs 6,760.4 crore. Profit and costs have also tripled since 2013-14.
The company has been heavily investing in Indic language technology and finding ways to push voice computing to make its products more accessible to people who either speak languages other than Hindi or English or don't know how to read.
In its recent annual India conference, the company had said it was stepping up efforts on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to find solutions to local problems in India, with a focus on voice, video and vernacular. The last three verticals, the company hopes, will shape the future of India's internet as well as boost advertising business.
“Voice has been emerging as the preferred mode of use for new internet users. We’re seeing major growth of voice queries in India,” said Rajan Anandan, vice-president, India and Southeast Asia. “Furthermore, online video now accounts for 75% of all mobile traffic. And as for vernacular, the majority of the Internet users today are Indian language users, a number expected to reach 500 million plus in the next two years. Ninety-five per cent of video consumption is in vernacular languages,” he said.
The company had previously said it will add more Indic-language content to the internet using a new product called Project Navlekha. For this, the firm said it was targeting 135,000, or 90%, of the 150,000 government-registered newspapers and magazines that don't have websites because they are published in vernacular languages.
Analysts believe the push to create more Indic-language content is a monetisation strategy of the internet giant. “The more content you have, the more people will access it, creating a scope for advertisements to be placed and revenue to be earned. The company already supports adverts in Bangla, Tamil and Hindi and is planning to add more Indic languages,” Navkender Singh, a senior analyst with market research firm IDC, told TechCircle.
Pavel Naiya, a senior analyst with Counterpoint Research, said the company's efforts seemed concentrated on generating more Indic-language content for training its data engines for Google Assistant, which would lead to more voice computing and help the company in understanding consumer behaviour.