Chandni Chowk goes Online

Over 2,500 businesses in the New Delhi”s iconic Chandni Chowk market are now online with their own websites as part of an initiative by Google, owner of the world’s most popular search engine.

Google, as part of its ‘India Get Your Business Online’ initiative launched in November 2011, offers free websites and domains to small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the country.


“With over 137 million Internet users in the country, an increasing number of users are now looking for local information online,” Google India VP and Managing Director (Sales and Operations) Rajan Anandan said at an event.

Over 2,500 businesses in Chandni Chowk market are now online as part of an initiative by Google.

An initiative like this helps SMBs get started on the Internet, he added.

“There are 47 million SMBs in the country, but only 4,00,000 have a web presence. Of this, only 1,00,000 have a decent quality web presence,” Anandan said.

As part of the project, Google India and HostGator went to each shop in Chandni Chowk and built over 2,500 free websites for businesses operating from the market.

In addition to creating these websites, Google India has also launched a common website to provide a directory of businesses from Chandni Chowk.

Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal, who is also a Member of Parliament from the Chandni Chowk constituency, said the move will help these shop owners increase their business as information about them would be more widely available.

“Internet is becoming an engine of economic growth and is expected to contribute over USD 100 billion by 2015 to India’s GDP. Embracing Internet will increase competitiveness of these businesses in the global economy,” Sibal said.

Google aims to build over 500,000 free websites for SMBs in the country by 2014. “We have created over 150,000 websites across 7,850 cities in India within a year. Next year, we expect to cover 300,000 businesses and by 2014-end, we will meet the target of 500,000,” Anandan said.

He added the company is looking at some other major business hubs to take more small businesses online but did not disclose any details.

Chandni Chowk is a hub of small and medium businesses in north India with over 5,000 businesses including suppliers, exporters and wholesalers, but very few own a website.

“This initiative from Google has provided all businesses with a professional website, which will now make it easier for customers to find us online and help us to grow our businesses,” Kinari Bazaar Gota Zari Association of Chandni Chowk spokesperson Pradeep Jain said.

Under the ‘India Get Your Business Online’ initiative, small businesses can set up a website for free and after a year, they need to pay just the website hosting charges. Google runs similar initiatives in other parts of the world as well.


Google Street View Goes Underwater

Google wows yet again. Time for iphone maps to up the ante too.

Have a 360 degree view of few of the worlds top diving spots including the Great Barrier Reef and Hawai.

Dive and explore with google. While serving the present and building the future it keeps you hooked.

Sea Turtle among the school of fish

Along the shore at Lady Elliot Island, Great Barrier Reef

Apo Island, Philippines, rich in Marine reserves

And the whole story.

Google: a step back and two forth

The below two feeds on Google together puts the search giant as being realist and one up to the ask.

(Related news: Google buys Frommer’s Travel Guides Brand, on August 10 2012,  strengthening itself in the travel domain after adding iconic Zagat restaurant-review guide. )

Back to the stories, first is a light mockery, “Google buys newspaper ad to show why newspaper ads do not work” in Mashable, which for a while makes you think that Google is giving into a step backward. A “multi-faceted irony” – Google’s print ads ran on Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper – in words of the author Lauren. Supported, in part, by this tweet as well.

“An ad for Google ads in today’s Globe demonstrates the value of print ads, yes?” — @sladurantaye, Globe and Mail media reporter.

However, second talks about “Google building the search engine of future” which includes taking search to your Gmail inbox along with a better voice search and combining knowledge for a collective-subjective wisdom.

That’s called as being realist. To the competition and to the fact that it still needs to pull/push many a prospects out of inertia to go Google with ads. And also, pull/push themselves up to the future or the future up to themselves with new experiments like Incorporating Gmail into search. And this. And this.

Hotels Promotional versus Candid Imagery

While candid imagery was a scheme of things at Tripadvisor ( with over 75 million travel reviews and opinions) and Makemytrip (perhaps first OTA in India to do so as mentioned in one of Superbrand’s Document), Oyster’s is a much more curious and serious attempt at review via spot-the-difference-between-the-two-pic. A photographer can make a sunset look awesome or awful. That’s skill. However, adding decor or a serenity or some extra width to a room/pool but only in pictures is a skill par trickery. Hotel review site Oyster reveals the same tricks and techniques in their Photo Fakeout category – juxtaposing the promotional and the actual images.

As for Photoshop and light room fans, I say, there is a fine line of intent, which defines if processing images is ethical or not.  We may find reasons for Why you absolutely need to be editing your travel photos, by Gary Arndt, a world traveler seasoned since 2007.