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Google reaches incredible milestone transforming Indian railway stations

We’ve all the heard the story of Edison failing a bunch of times when inventing the light bulb.

He’s been famously quoted as saying that he never failed; he just found 10,000 ways that didn’t work.

This idea – that you must fail to succeed – is a common refrain among people that get stuff done. Talk to anyone who has made it, and they’ll tell you the same thing – you gotta try, and you will fail.

Google is a company that tries, so it’s no surprise that it has experienced a bunch of high profile failures too. Yes, they have the resources to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks, but they could just as easily play it safe.

Yup, resting on the laurels of its search algorithm alone, Google could just sit back and watch that cash roll in. However, one thing you have to respect is that it doesn’t. Google keeps trying, and has capped off this year with two pretty significant triumphs.

The first came a few weeks ago, when we reported that Google is quietly going about converting to 100 percent renewable energy. It is achieving this by offsetting its usage with purchases of solar and wind farms and is set to reach its goal of no carbon footprint by 2017. Quite a feat.

The second comes today, with news that Google has announced free Wi-Fi at its 100th railway station in India.

Mashable reported that the project started back in January, at India’s Mumbai Central Station. At that time, Google stated that its goal was to get 100 stations connected by the end of this year and another 300 done by the end of 2017.

Working with Indian rail company RailTel, Google has successfully completed the first phase of its ambitious project, which it describes as “among the largest public Wi-Fi projects in the world.”

Clearly, Google’s intentions aren’t entirely altruistic.

After China, India has the world’s second-largest number of Internet users in the world. However, only about a third of the Indian population has Internet access. Google has looked at the numbers and recognised a huge opportunity in India, estimating that this project – dubbed RailWire – will reach 10 million people a day through the first 100 stations alone.

It’s a large investment, but also one that will bring back returns for Google. It reminds me of another successful mantra: “you gotta spend money to make money”.

So 400 railway stations in two years in India is the goal. Knowing Google, it’ll make it too.

If only things were going so smoothly here.

I’ve already. written. numerous. times. about the state of Aussie internet, so at the risk of beating a dead horse I’ll just leave this out there.

Google, are you interested in another large-scale internet project?

How about a fibre network for an island continent Down Under? Did I mention the whole middle part is a desert? But it’s pretty nice once you get used to the spiders, sharks, snakes and crocs.

Let us know Google, we may just be hiring.

About the author

Stefan is an Adelaide-based freelance writer. In his spare time, he plays tennis badly, collects vinyl and brushes up on his Mandarin. Follow Stefan on Twitter

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