Google brings Indian business information online

A five month trial of the online business registration service Google My Business (GMB) has seen over a million small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) registering in India.

MUMBAI - 28. Mai 2015.

With an average of 25,000 businesses signing up to the app each week, the tech giant is hoping to capture the details of some 20 million businesses in the country by 2017.

Google's first mobile-based product initiative for SMBs offers companies in India the ability to create and manage their online presence without investing in a website or domain name, in English and Hindi.

GMB allows businesses to connect with customers through Google Search, Maps and Google+ with options to upload images of their products and add business addresses and contact details as well as other business records and company information.

The firm's head of South East Asia described the search experience for local business in India as being “broken” today, in a region where six million new internet users are coming online each month.

He said Google expects internet users in India to hit 500 million within the next three years, accelerating the need for users to easily search for and find information about local businesses as well as to let businesses connect with customers.

Google's pilot for GMB - called “India Get Your Business Online” - saw half a million of India’s small businesses register to create a presence on the web.

Its successor is tabled for a regional roll-out now, and will be made available in the Philippines before the end of the year.

It is not clear yet what checks Google runs on registering Indian businesses, but Worldbox has previously commented on the difficulties of checking the integrity of companies there.

Adrian Ashurst, Worldbox CEO says while all Indian companies are registered in MCA21 (the national Ministry of Corporate Affairs' registry) and have Permanent Account Numbers (PANs) - which he says can be a useful identifier when doing business in India - "the key is determining whether they are valid."

"Alibaba do a good job in verifying such entities before they are permitted to become vendors on their platform," he says. "For us, being sure about an Indian company's credentials often means relying on our agents on the ground to personally investigate and pinpoint any issues, in addition to checking their official registrations and paperwork.

In India, an information gap between the country's 300 million internet users and 51 million businesses - less than 6% of which are online - has long been an issue between buyers and vendors.

Industry estimates suggest that micro, small and medium enterprises could contribute as much as 50 per cent to Indian GDP by 2024, up from 38 per cent today.

Both Google and Facebook are pushing for broader access to affordable, reliable web connections for people within developing markets, with particular attention to Asia.

Last year, Google partnered with the Indian government over the Digital India project to develop a national high-speed network for educational establishments and government departments.


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