Google has chosen Bangalore and Paris as two of its main centres for product hub

Google has chosen Bangalore and Paris as two of its main centres from where products for emerging markets like India, Africa and Latin America will be conceived and developed, according to a top Google India executive.

Google counts most of south and south-east Asia, some parts of Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and countries where internet penetration is less than 50%, as emerging markets.

“We are making Bangalore one of the two major centers for emerging markets,” said Lalitesh Katragadda, country head, India products, Google. Katragadda, the man behind Google Mapmaker and Google’s transliteration, has recently taken on the additional responsibility in the emerging markets team for Google.

“Think of us as a start-up within Google, which has a mission of getting the next fiveĀ  billion people online,” explained Katragadda. The new group in Google will build products and features from scratch and also make existing products work for emerging markets.

“Many of the products we are building right now are still under the wraps,” said Katragadda. The emerging markets team is a separate group that spans across all the seven product areas, which include Android, Chrome, search, ads, social and YouTube.
Products specifically for emerging markets will be built out of the Bangalore or Paris development centres.

“It’s not something Bangalore has been known for in the last few years,” he added. Google has an estimated 2,000 member workforce in India, but Katragadda did not specify how many of them will work for the new team. Nelson Mattos, Google’s vice-president for product and engineering, Europe and emerging markets, leads the group with a “handful” of top engineers, product managers and marketers.

Katragadda, who is three months into the new role, said: “It now involves not only looking into all our products and making sure that they work well in India but also conceive and build new products – not just in India but also for the whole of emerging markets.” New Google products for emerging markets are most likely to be in local languages and mobile based.

“If you launch a product in emerging markets that is not on mobile, that’s not going to work right,” said Katragadda. The Google veteran, who moved to India with Krishna Bharat, a distinguished research scientist at Google, in 2004 to set up the company’s Bangalore operations, did not share the number of emerging market products in the pipeline, but said that “at least one compelling product” will be built.

“I don’t think it takes more than one or two great products to really draw people to theĀ  Internet. Frankly, we are going to figure it out by launching a few experiments and have the users tell us.”

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