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Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced in a press release on Thursday that his company continues its close association with Reliance Jio in its quest to build an affordable smartphone for India.

He further revealed how the project has taken off after Google’s last year initiative to buy up a 7.7 percent stake in Jio Platforms for Rs. 33,737 crore.

Google Partners Jio to Create Affordable Smartphone for India

The deal also confirms Google’s entry into a commercial agreement with Jio for a joint-venture to create a budget-friendly smartphone for consumers across the sub-continent.

“We are focused on building an affordable phone… we are committed to making progress on the project and we are working with them (Jio),” Pichai confirmed in a virtual conference with select reporters from Asia Pacific.

There were no further details revealed at the conference, including probable launch date and pricing info. Nevertheless, Google’s aim is to ensure accessibility to affordable devices along with cheap data rates to make internet access available across remote, rural areas in the country.

Google for India Digitisation Fund

As part of ‘Google for India Digitisation Fund’ that was announced last year, the company has proposed plans to invest Rs 75,000 crore (USD 10 billion) in India over the next five to seven years. This move will help boost the adoption of digital technologies in the country.

“Google is also looking at new opportunities to deploy funds from its USD 10 billion India Digitisation Fund (IDF), and will make some announcements later this year,” Pichai added on Thursday.

Pichai also highlighted the significance of adopting new digital tech in the wake of the ensuing pandemic and how it plays a key role in enhancing people’s lives.

“We realise the importance technology plays, and be it building products like Google Meets or working to make sure all of this works well on their (telecom operators’) networks, and bringing more affordable access to smartphones and computing, it’s just deepened our efforts there,” he explained.

Google I/O Event and Announcements

Pichai further shed some light on some recent announcements made by Google at its flagship I/O event this year such as the release of Android 12 (first beta) along with new privacy settings and AI tools which will be integrated in its products in the near future.

Application of AI in Tech

Highlighting the ethical use of AI tools in tech, he explained that the company is adopting a transparent and open-ended approach with its research content as it works tirelessly to overcome the limitations of AI.

“Over time, we’ll have to figure out responsible AI regulations, which promotes innovation, but balances it with responsible oversight…We should never lose sight of the benefits AI is going to bring, just like technology has always brought tremendous benefits and work hard to address the downsides and mitigate it, I think that’s a construct all of us have to do globally,” he reasoned.

Pichai also pointed out how Google wished to be a “responsible partner” and pioneer its ideas as a thought leader for privacy protection and thereby meet end user expectations.

“We just need to give users tools and controls, choices and newer techniques by which we preserve their privacy,” he explained while noting that users had the freedom to choose between premium (paid) content and free content with Ad support.

(Source: PTI)

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