Google Cloud Unveils Accelerator Program to Empower India's ONDC Initiative

In a bid to bolster the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), a government-backed digital commerce initiative in India, Google Cloud has officially launched an accelerator program. The announcement was made by Ambarish Kenghe, Vice President of Google Pay, during a developer conference held in Bengaluru.

The primary objective of this accelerator program is to extend Google Cloud’s cutting-edge technology and expert guidance to businesses, facilitating their seamless integration into the ONDC network. By doing so, the program aims to create enhanced digital commerce experiences for users.

“We are launching an accelerator program for ONDC to support the growth of India’s robust network of digital sellers,” stated Kenghe, emphasizing Google’s commitment to fostering India’s digital ecosystem through innovation and technological capabilities.

As part of this initiative, Google Cloud will offer its core infrastructure application programming interfaces (APIs) as an open-source solution to ONDC participants. Additionally, the tech giant will provide retail search and generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools to enhance both the buyer and seller experiences on the ONDC platform.

Moreover, Google Cloud will introduce an ONDC startup credits program, where participants can apply for grants of up to $25,000 to boost their entrepreneurial ventures.

The integration of address descriptors on Google Maps will also significantly improve the serviceability of ONDC orders, ensuring a smoother delivery experience for customers.

T Koshy, Managing Director, and CEO at ONDC, expressed enthusiasm about the addition of Google Cloud’s accelerator program. Koshy emphasized that this move further strengthens ONDC’s mission to revolutionize India’s ecommerce landscape, fostering efficiency, agility, and customer-centricity.

ONDC, a private non-profit company backed by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), is dedicated to democratizing ecommerce and increasing its penetration across India. The platform was initially soft-launched in five cities, including Delhi NCR, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Shillong, and Coimbatore, in April of the previous year. It was later opened to the public in Bengaluru, successfully onboarding several key players to scale the network.

The integration of various services with ONDC, including Marico’s Saffola Store, Paytm, PhonePe, Delhivery, Shiprocket, Dunzo, and Snapdeal, has further solidified its position in the market.

Industry analysts have opined that the current form of ONDC does not pose an immediate threat to established industry leaders like Zomato and Swiggy. However, they have noted that the potential for scaling the network could have implications in the future.

In recent news, ONDC celebrated a remarkable 500X increase in daily transactions, soaring from 50 orders in January to an impressive 25,000 orders in the first week of May. This impressive growth underscores the platform’s growing influence in India’s digital commerce landscape.

The Google Cloud accelerator program is expected to play a pivotal role in bolstering ONDC’s capabilities, fostering its expansion, and driving further innovation in India’s dynamic digital commerce space. Businesses and entrepreneurs looking to capitalize on this opportunity can now look forward to leveraging Google’s expertise and technology to thrive in the evolving ecommerce landscape.



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