India is set to overtake the US in internet user base by the end of this calendar year, making it the second largest base for internet users in the world. In an interview to Bloomberg TV India , Google’s VP and MD for South-East Asia & India, Rajan Anandan, explains the matrix of the internet market and how Google is gearing up to bring the entire population online. India now is front and centre in the global internet industry, he said.

How is India changing as a market that consumes the internet? Is it moving more towards the mobile?

India already has over 300 million internet users and we are adding over six million new internet users every month. Of the over 300 million users, only 100 million of them actually access the internet through the desktop or notebook. So already well over 200 million users access the internet only through mobile devices and 100 per cent of the growth in the Indian internet market is coming from mobile devices.

So six million new users are added every month and 100 per cent of those users actually are accessing the internet through a mobile device. So, India’s internet today already is all about mobile and the growth going forward is also all about mobile.

What about your investments into India? Will it be in line with that and will you be looking at changing the investment strategy or is too early for you to take a call given the contribution of the mobile?

Yes, we are very focused on bridging the gap. And if you think about India, a country of 1.2 billion people, only 300-400 million people are on the internet today. So we have really another 800-850 million Indians that we need to bring online. And our entire strategy is around bridging this gap.

How do we get the next 100 million, the next 200 million and the next 300-400 million users online? And to do that we really need to address a number of very significant barriers — we need to make sure that the Indic internet or the Indian language internet really emerges, blossoms and then blooms.

Only 200 million out of the 1.2 billion Indians speak English. So, basically, India’s entire internet is going to be a non-English internet. Until a year ago, even accessing the internet for a Hindi speaker was quite difficult as the keyboards didn’t work and the voice recognition in Hindi didn’t work. Discovery was difficult because there weren’t or there were very few high quality open source Hindi fonts. There weren’t a lot of Hindi content online. So we created the Indian language internet alliance — Google, publishers, non-English publishers, the government and CDC, a set of niche technology providers. And we systematically have gone after addressing all the barriers associated with the Indian language internet. So we have launched a very high quality Hindi keyboard, we have launched speech recognition in Hindi and there are now dozens of high quality open source fonts in Hindi.

In terms of a percentage contribution from India to emerging markets, Europe and Asia, how large will it become as you see it in 10 years?

We don’t talk about specific revenue contribution. But from a user’s standpoint, there are 3.5 billion internet users in the world and over 300 million of them come from India. There are about two billion smartphone users worldwide and India already has 150 million smartphone users.

India is the fastest growing internet market in the world in terms of absolute number of new users that is being added every month. So, from every different dimension, whether it’s number of users, usage on a specific product, search, social, video or you look at the absolute growth of the internet, India now is the front and centre in the global internet industry.

Is your addition as far as users going to be in line with the kind of revenue increase and growth you see here?

We have about 2,000 people or Googlers here in India. Outside of the US, India is one of our largest locations. And the exciting thing about India is that we have all our range of functions from sales, marketing, business development, product development and engineering. And we have a very large operations team.

What excites us in the morning is the whole question of how do we get a billion Indians online.