Google plans to manufacture its flagship Pixel 8 smartphone in India, CEO Sundar Pichai said Thursday, joining a growing list of global tech companies limiting their supply chains’ dependence on China.
Pichai’s announcement follows US tech rival Apple’s release last month of its latest iPhone, including units made in India, as tech giants target the South Asian nation’s fast-expanding market and abundant supply of cheap skilled labour.
“We shared plans at #GoogleforIndia (event on Thursday) to manufacture Pixel smartphones locally and expect the first devices to roll out in 2024,” Pichai said on X, formerly known as Twitter.
We shared plans at #GoogleforIndia to manufacture Pixel smartphones locally and expect the first devices to roll out in 2024. We’re committed to being a trusted partner in India’s digital growth- appreciate the support for Make In India @PMOIndia + MEIT Minister @AshwiniVaishnaw.
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) October 19, 2023
Pichai added that Google appreciated the “support for Make in India” — a flagship policy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, offering faster business clearances and financial incentives for manufacturing goods in the country.
New Delhi has ramped up its production and exports of mobile phones and other electronic goods since the scheme was introduced.
India’s mobile phone exports almost doubled to $8.5 billion year-on-year in 2022-23, according to official figures.
Google senior vice president Rick Osterloh said the firm sees “an even greater opportunity to make Pixel smartphones available to more people” in India.
“In recent years, India has established itself as a truly world-class hub for manufacturing, resulting in a thriving environment for businesses to flourish,” Osterloh said in a statement.
The company intended to “start with the Pixel 8, and will partner with international and domestic manufacturers to produce Pixel smartphones locally”, he added.
India, home to the second-highest number of smartphone users after China, has set a target of producing about $300 billion worth of local electronics and smartphones by 2025-26.
Google already has significant investments in the country and also partnered with Reliance Jio, owned by India’s richest man Mukesh Ambani, on a 4G-enabled, low-cost smartphone for the local market.
Earlier this year, Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn, the world’s biggest contract electronics manufacturer and a principal assembler of iPhones, bought a huge tract of land on the outskirts of India’s tech hub of Bengaluru.
It was seen as a part of Apple’s push into India — the world’s most populous and fastest-growing major economy — and its efforts to diversify production away from China.
Electronics giant Samsung also runs the world’s largest mobile phone factory on the outskirts of New Delhi with a capacity of about 120 million units per year.
AI threatens wages, not jobs
The rapid adoption of artificial intelligence could reduce wages, but so far is creating, not destroying jobs, especially for the young and highly-skilled, research published by the European Central Bank showed on Tuesday.
Firms have invested heavily in artificial intelligence, or AI, leaving economists striving to understand the impact on the labour market and driving fears among the wider public for the future of their jobs.
At the same time, employers are struggling to find qualified workers, despite a recession that would normally ease labour market pressures.
In a sample of 16 European countries, the employment share of sectors exposed to AI increased, with low and medium-skill jobs largely unaffected and highly-skilled positions getting the biggest boost, a Research Bulletin published by the ECB said.
But it also cited “neutral to slightly negative impacts” on earnings and said that could increase.
“These results do not amount to an acquittal,” the paper said. “AI-enabled technologies continue to be developed and adopted. Most of their impact on employment and wages – and therefore on growth and equality – has yet to be seen.”
The findings were in contrast to previous “technology waves,” it said, when computerisation decreased “the relative share of employment of medium-skilled workers, resulting in “polarisation”.
Steps to avoid Google account deletion due to inactivity
Previously, Google announced that it would delete accounts that haven’t been signed into for two years, starting from December 1, 2023.
The move to delete these accounts comes from security concerns. An account that has been inactive for a long time is more susceptible to being breached by hackers, according to Google. This could expose personal information, increase the risk of identity theft, and make users vulnerable to being targeted in scams.
If someone has a Google account that they want to keep but it’s at risk of being deleted due to inactivity, they can follow certain steps to safeguard the account and its data.
The simplest way for them to keep their Google account is by logging into it or any associated Google services like YouTube or Gmail immediately.
By signing in at least once every two years, they can ensure that their Google account remains active and is not subject to deletion.
Considering that security is a major concern for these policies, and with Google noting that unused accounts are far less likely to have 2-step verification, it’s advisable for individuals to enable 2-step verification on their Google accounts (and on all other accounts they possess) to significantly reduce the risk of hacking.
AI threat demands new approach to security designs
The potential threat posed by the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI) means safeguards need to be built in to systems from the start rather than tacked on later, a top US official said on Monday.
“We’ve normalized a world where technology products come off the line full of vulnerabilities and then consumers are expected to patch those vulnerabilities. We can’t live in that world with AI,” said Jen Easterly, director of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
“It is too powerful, it is moving too fast,” she said in a telephone interview after holding talks in Ottawa with Sami Khoury, head of Canada’s Centre for Cyber Security.
Easterly spoke the same day that agencies from 18 countries, including the United States, endorsed new British-developed guidelines on AI cyber security that focus on secure design, development, deployment and maintenance.
“We have to look at security throughout the lifecycle of that AI capability,” Khoury said.
Earlier this month, leading AI developers agreed to work with governments to test new frontier models before they are released to help manage the risks of the rapidly developing technology.
“I think we have done as much as we possibly could do at this point in time, to help come together with nations around the world, with technology companies, to set out from a technical perspective how to build these build these capabilities as securely and safely as possible,” said Easterly.
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