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Google bets on 'dynamic' India

By BS Bureau in Hyderabad
October 13, 2004 09:25 IST
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Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin love to do things differently.

So when they were asked at a select media briefing in Hyderabad on Tuesday what they would take away from their first-ever whistle-stop tour of India, the answer didn't come as a surprise: "We would love to take the Indian autorickshaw to California. It has great manoeuvrability and is easy to get in and out."

And what about the $4 billion they are each worth? "Well it brought us to India, didn't it?" Page and Brin, who met President APJ Abdul Kalam on Monday, made all the right noises about their India operations. "India is dynamic and there is a lot of construction happening from what we see," Brin says.

Page promised India would be 'one of our larger operations.' But no specifics, please. Talking about the company's markedly different approach to research, Brin said Google proposed to do 'more research than development' at Bangalore.

Researchers at Google's facility in Bangalore would devote 80 per cent of their time researching on areas which are core to Google's product portfolio.

Twenty per cent of their time would be spent on research projects that are of interest to them individually. Says Brin," Most of our recent products like Gmail, Google Groups or Google Print are all because of this individual research projects that we have encouraged."

"Seventy per cent of the research that goes on in Bangalore is related to search, 20 per cent on Gmail, while 10 per cent will be in assorted areas," says Brin, who is on leave from a PhD programme in computer science at Stanford.

The model, though, is not unique to the Bangalore facility alone and is the accepted norm at Google's R&D facilities across the globe. The Hyderabad office will act as a support centre for its moneyspinner AdWords programme.

Google Hyderabad, the second of Google's offices in India, will be home to engineering, human resources and online sales and service functions. Engineers hired for the Google Hyderabad engineering centre will mirror the scope of work and hiring standards as in Google's other engineering offices.

The company, though, refuses to divulge the kind of numbers it hopes to recruit in the two cities. Google has 2,200 employees on its rolls globally.

Keeping up with its people friendly employee culture, Google in India is promising normal business hours for employees and not some 24/7 call centre kind of operation, wherein Indian employees wake up and field calls from the US and Europe when the rest of the country sleeps.

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BS Bureau in Hyderabad