Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has officially launched its office in Jakarta today, and has chosen Rudy Ramawy to be the country head. Now that Google is here, it aims to boost the whole tech and internet ecosystem in Indonesia and to help local businesses get online. Yet the company hasn’t revealed where its new office will be precisely, but we’ll find out soon enough.
By shaping and recruiting a local team here in Indonesia, it will also go along with Google’s vision to make its services into something that can help the daily lives of people here. For example, there’s already Google Maps Indonesia, Google Voice Search in Bahasa Indonesia, Google Translate, and a localized Chrome Web Store.
Rudy Ramawy (pictured below, right), the country head of Google Indonesia, said in a statement issued this evening:
I’d like to thank our users and partners for the positive responses, the trust coming from our users in Indonesia is very precious for us. Our presence here shows Google’s commitment to be closer to our users and partners so we can enhance our positive contribution to the society. I see Google as something that is already a part of our daily life, for example I saw my daughter searching for a ticket to Bali using her voice, my mother asked me to look up on Google Maps a route where there’s no traffic jam, things like that. My daughter even asked me – daddy, how did people do their homework before Google exist? That question itself is proof that Google has changed the world and we want to keep doing so.
Before Google has even opened its office in Indonesia, it has launched several programs already with local partners. Namely, Bisnis Lokal Go Online was rolled out back in January aiming to help small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to make their products/services available online. So far there are only 75,000 such businesses out of 17 million that have a website. Tomorrow, Google Indonesia will hold a seminar for 1,000 SMB owners to educate them on this issue. Google has also worked together with several local companies like Kompas, Kapanlagi, Gramedia, BliBli, and TouchTen to name just a few, for its Chrome Web Store.
Some Google products have also been improved for Indonesia; for example, Google Voice Search, complete with support for commands in Indonesian, has been launched on several platforms including Android, iOS and Blackberry. Since 2011, Google Maps users can also see the traffic situation on Jakarta’s roads so they can plan their trips wisely. And Google Places is open to local businesses to register for free.
Google has also executed several events and programs: there is Family Safety Day where Google worked with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology to make its products safe for family to use, and then there’s the Indonesia Google Business Group in Jakarta and Jogjakarta, a community that helps companies understand how to use Google’s products and technology. Finally, there’s Google DevFest, an annual event where Google invites developers in Indonesia to crack open Google’s products from a developers’ point of view.
Google’s expansion shows that Indonesia has enough potential to put legs on the ground there even though it has a regional office in Singapore already. It wants to be closer to the place where they have such a large – and young and very mobile – user base. Hopefully, Google’s presence in Indonesia will open more doors, promote local content, and make it easier for local companies to work together with the search engine giant. Who knows, maybe in the near future we can also see other Silicon Valley companies, say Facebook for example, opening offices here in Indonesia too, instead of things going the other way around.