Google not finding right talent in India to suit its needs
15.Oct, 2006
NEW DELHI: IT engineers may be dime-a-dozen in India, but internet search engine leader Google is having a hard time finding candidates with the right skill sets in the country. 

Google, which is considered to have a very low attrition rate even in the high-job-hopping Indian IT space, has found it more challenging to hire certain talent in India as compared to other parts of the world, the company's founder-director Kavitark Ram Shriram admitted recently. 

The Indian origin founding board member of Google and a well-known venture capitalist said at an 'Investing in India' conference in San Francisco, "I know first hand that we have had a bit more of a challenge trying to hire engineers for Google in Bangalore compared to the other parts of the world." 

The daunting admission comes from an influential board member of a company which puts a prominent link of 'We're Hiring' on the home page of its India website. 

Besides, the company claims to encourage its employees "to make their dreams a reality," to provide "a fun atmosphere" to work, along with other benefits like "mediclaim insurance, life insurance, business travel/personal accident insurance, sick time, maternity leave, paternity leave and family care leave." 

When contacted, a Google India spokesperson declined to comment on the issues raised by Shriram, but said the company was very pleased with the talent it had found in India. 

The spokesperson told PTI, "We are building global centres to be at the same quality throughout the world and Google Bangalore R&D centre is an important part of the Google innovation story." 

The Bangalore centre was one of Google's first R&D centres outside the US and was set up with a charter to innovate, implement, and launch new Google technologies and products. The company's Google Finance service was first developed at this centre. 

"We are very pleased with the way this centre has grown and with the talent we have found in India," the spokesperson said. 

The company director, who was among the two Indians in the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans, cited the shortage of right talent with certain skills in web development and web design technology areas as well as at middle-manager levels. 

"It's been really hard to find middle management, for example. It's great to find a good founding team, but then I can't find middle management. I can't find engineers, he said at the 'Second Annual Investing in India' conference organised by International Business Forum. 

The people are smart, innately smart, but do not have some particular skill set yet, Shriram added. 

Shriram, who held 2.3 per cent stake in Google when the company launched its IPO in 2004, also criticised the talent crunch in the web design in India. 
"User-interface people are in short supply in India. I have to actually transport people from here over there," he said. 

India has emerged as a major offshore destination of various global companies, particularly in the IT space, and a huge pool of low-cost and educated talent pool has been cited as one of the major driver of the company's BPO growth story. 

Shriram said that some businesses in India, such as call centres, were suffering high staff turnover as greater competition for labour has pushed up the wages, which is less common in web businesses. 

"In the web 2.0 businesses, I am not seeing that, but I am also seeing a huge talent shortage," he said. 

Shriram is a well-known venture capitalist and has invested in various start-up companies like 24/7 Customer, Plaxo, and TellMe Networks through his venture fund Sherpalo Ventures and has been an early executive team member of internet firm Netscape. 

Meanwhile, people in the blogspace are also blaming the talent crunch Google is facing to the recent controversy related to the company's social networking service Orkut. 

"Orkut is evolving into a major controversy as Indians are really concerned over privacy and there is no privacy on the site," wrote a blogger. 

Google said as a global company it was committed to delivering the best search experience to users and customers around the world, in every language and in every country. 

To further that objective, Google aims to hire the very best people whether in engineering, business operations or customer support, it added. 

Besides Bangalore, the company has offices in Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi as well.

Yahoo to launch new portals in Indian languages
2 Oct, 2006 
NEW DELHI: Internet major Yahoo is expanding its presence in India with plans to launch up to six new portals in regional languages and acquire or enter into partnership with an Indian company. The company will also increase headcount at its R&D centre in Bangalore to 1,000 from current 800 by the end of this year. 

"The company is planning to launch new portals in about 2-6 Indian regional languages and an announcement to this effect is expected in the next few weeks," a company spokesperson said. Yahoo would add 200 software engineers at its R&D centre at Bangalore, taking the total headcount to 1,000 by the end of the year, the official said. The spokesperson said Yahoo is in discussions with various Indian companies for partnerships and acquisitions and a decision to this effect is expected in the next 6-10 months. However, the official declined to divulge further details about the investments lined up for India. 

"The investments will be made depending upon the opportunities which arise," the company official said. 
Yahoo had recently made an equity investment of 8.65 million dollars in matrimonial portal 
The company is also expanding its R&D center in Bangalore and has acquired a new building for the expansion. 
The Indian R&D center of Yahoo is the largest center for the company outside the US and employs about 10 per cent of company's total workforce, the spokesperson said. 
The official did not say whether the portals in regional languages would be an extension to its existing ones or will be new. 
Yahoo has also launched its Search Marketing solution for Indian marketers and advertisers to help their businesses and consumers connect with each other. 
"The key area of focus of Yahoo Search Marketing (YSM) in India is to tap the small and medium businesses, which constitute a major portion of the market," Yahoo Search Marketing India General Manager Sundeep Deshpande said. 
Yahoo would use "high touch model" to educate SMB's customers and also has plans to introduce YSM in vernacular languages. 
YSM has already been employed by marketeers in 23 countries to address their business needs. 
The company has also entered into a tie-up with MSN to provide interoperability between the company's two messengers


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