Silicon Valley Laps up Indian Dream

Published: 28th September 2015 08:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th September 2015 08:41 AM   |  A+A-


SILICON VALLEY: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday visited the Google campus, where he was given a tour of some of the latest products and forward-looking researches being done by the search engine giant.

Modi wanted Khagaul to be pinpointed on Google Earth when he was given a glimpse of the unique tool. Khagaul near Patna is where the great ancient astronomer Aryabhatta had an observatory. “Projects for progress,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said of the various projects which were shown to Modi by Google CEO Sunder Pichai. Pichai explained navigational, safety and other uses of StreetView and Google Earth to Prime Minister Modi.

“It is a visit to Google Guru,” Modi quipped as he reached the company’s campus from nearby Facebook headquarters. He was welcomed by Google co-founder Larry Page, Sundar Pichai, and Chairman Eric Schmidt. They gave him a tour of four critical projects and their value for the ‘Digital India’ campaign. Another project that was shown to the Prime Minister was Project Iris, smart lens that measure glucose levels.

Later, speaking on the occasion, Pichai announced that Google will provide high speed internet services at 100 Indian railway stations and expand it to 400 by next year. Pointing out that India was the first country to make  Chrome the number one browser, he said, “We are all united by the belief that technology can improve lives.” Social media, he said, has become a strong and new power of democracy. He urged Google employees to help him meet the challenges being faced by India including poverty.

The Prime Minister said, “I want to compliment the people here who spend so much time on computers to find solutions for various issues. I hope your work helps the poor of India, and that even I get to learn something from it.” He further said technology has its flip side as well and joked that these days a mother would like to send a WhatsApp message before feeding her baby. As he concluded his speech, chorus of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” rent the air at the Google HQ.

In his brief remarks, Modi also stressed the need to “encourage Hackathon culture” in India so that the youth are inspired to find solutions to the country’s problems. With social media becoming a part of today’s lifestyle, Modi said people spend a significant amount of time on it.

“This is just the beginning,” Modi said, adding that in the years to come he expects this to bring a qualitative change in the life of people. Later, Modi participated in a hackathon at Google. Many youngsters in their 20s had come from India to participate in it. Before leaving Google, the Prime Minister had a group photo with its top officials and gave autographs to the employees.

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