The world’s go-to search engine, Google, made its official entry into the archipelago recently. Rudy Ramawy, head of the company’s Indonesian outpost, shares the web behemoth’s plans for its future here.
Not a day goes by without an Internet user accessing Google. Conceived in 1996 as a research project by Stanford University PhD students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the mission was – and remains – to organize the world’s information. And even while Page concedes that Google is a long way from becoming the ultimate search engine that understands everything and generates the right information every time, it is clear that it has evolved to become a powerful force on the World Wide Web.
Needless to say, an increasingly tech-savvy Indonesia has embraced it. According to web information company Alexa, Google Indonesia, at its address www.google.co.id, has ranked #69 in web traffic over the past three months among the 30 million domains in the world. The site’s visitors view 10.7 pages each day on average, and the site has attained 1.8 million page views in the last three months.
These high-potential numbers were enough to prompt Google to set up an official presence here; new country head Rudy Ramawy shares that while it is too early for Google Indonesia to be talking about revenue targets, there is plenty to be excited about.
Just Google it
As with any other Google office in the world, Google Indonesia’s main business lies in search engine optimization. In the last three years, Google has also expanded its portfolio to include applications, video (through Youtube), advertising (through Double Click), blogs and RSS (through Feedburner), and other interests.
With these options, Rudy sees great opportunities for Google Indonesia as part of the Google organization. “There are many potential areas that can be developed in Indonesia, while still following our basic business model – providing advertising solutions to consumers and businesses,” said Rudy, who held positions at local television channel RCTI, consumer goods manufacturer Proctor & Gamble, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music and Axis Telecom Indonesia before accepting the job at Google.
We are well-placed to develop and analyze data trends and client performance, to optimize our search engine service,” he added. “Secondly, we need to develop solid strategic sales plans and conduct strategic and sales presentations, before talking about revenue.”
As the fourth Southeast Asian destination for the company after Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, Rudy lets on that Google is eager to foster stronger partnerships here, expand its knowledge of the region, as well as tap on Indonesia’s huge demand for technology and connectivity.
He is also confident that Google will find people here to realize all this, and that the company will help boost the economy along the way. “We want people with creativity and innovation, as well as a clear vision that is suitable with the company. I believe we’ll find these qualities in many Indonesians,” Rudy said, adding that Google can further support Indonesia by helping companies gather information through cloud computing.
Julian Persaud, Google’s managing director for Southeast Asia, adds that the web economy moves three times faster than the real economy; with Indonesia growing at a steady, healthy pace, he expects to tap into the digital expansion that will no doubt accompany the country’s expansion.
With a population of 240 million and an increasing number among them beginning to access the internet via their mobile phones, Indonesia’s potential is obvious. Google plans to put its people on the ground to find and secure stronger ties with new and existing partners, the government, advertisers, and other stakeholders.
Additionally, with a local office, Google can also better learn about local needs and wants for its products. “We are open to localizing as much content as possible, and that is our wish in the near future,” said Rudy. “We will start with what Google provides for us and we’ll set it according to what we need.”
At the inauguration of PT Google Indonesia, Persaud echoed Rudy’s sentiments: “Google’s global ambition is to localize as much content as possible. I expect Google to continue improving its products and services according to local preferences.
Because of its population, Indonesia is among the fastest growing countries in the region in terms of Internet usage. I am very optimistic with our business here,” he added.
The road ahead
With more Indonesians than ever now connected to the Internet, more of them becoming savvier and taking advantage of it, and 30% growth in Internet use last year, there may even be the opportunity to build a data center here.
Demonstrating his company’s dedication to its new home, Rudy said: “It will be in our road map, but for the time being, we will work with Google data centers in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, which together sufficiently support Internet connections for Southeast Asia and Indonesia.”
Rudy also shared several of his other plans: the first among them is to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by providing 100,000 free domains and channels through Youtube for them to market themselves. “We call this Local Businesses Go Online, and with the services Google is giving us, I believe Google can and will have a hand in supporting Indonesia’s SMEs,” he explained.
Recently, Google cooperated with the National Museum to realize the Google Art Project, a service which allows visitors from around the world to browse the museum virtually and learn about each work art from the museum. Of the collaboration, Rudy observed: “We are proud that our National Museum is among the 17 museums working with the Art Project, and most importantly, our museum can now be accessed internationally. While the Google Art Project may not include every single item from the Museum, the details and information can be very handy for the public,” he adds.
This is our first effort and won’t be the last.”
With a young, passionate and creative team that is eager to help build Indonesia through Google, Rudy promises that there is yet more to come from Google Indonesia: “I want to strengthen and optimize the benefits of Google in Indonesia, and make Google the most reliable search engine in the country.”