Google announces multiple initiatives to support Thailand digital economy

At the first ever Google for Thailand event, Google announced six initiatives to enable more Thai people and businesses to unlock and participate in the growth of the digital economy.

The event was attended by Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister of Thailand, Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj, Minister of Digital Economy and Society, and Glyn T. Davies, United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand as well as Google executives.

Ben King, Country Director, Google Thailand announced that Google’s initiatives would span across four pillars: access, education, content & products and SMEs. They were designed to ensure that all Thais would have opportunities and the know-how to access technology and use it to build livelihoods.

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Anjali Joshi, Vice-President of Product Management, Next Billion Users announced Google’s commitment to improve internet access in Thailand with the launch of Google Station, a high-speed public Wi-Fi program undertaken in Thailand in partnership with CAT Telecom, sponsored by Unilever. Google Station will start in 10 venues across Bangkok and two provinces—Phichit and Loei and will be expanded  to other parts of Thailand in the coming months, allowing more Thais to access a free and reliable internet connection.

Ben King announced the construction of the Academy Bangkok – A Google Space, a digital skills training facility in True Digital Park in Bangkok. It will be the new training venue for participants of the Google Ignite program, a two month digital marketing training course that prepares Thai university students for future careers in Thai companies. The Academy will also be the training facility for other Google-run training programs in areas like developer skills and cloud computing.  Once open later this year, the academy will be able to accommodate cohorts of up to 200 people at a time.

To support Thailand’s evergrowing YouTube community, Mukpim Anantachai, Head of YouTube Partnerships, YouTube Thailand said that the company would relaunch the YouTube Pop-Up Space in Bangkok this November, giving Thai creators access to state-of-the-art production facilities. Google Thailand will also offer training programs for creators like YouTube NextUp, an eight week course that mentors up-and-coming creators on how to become the YouTube stars, and Creators for Change, a program that supports creators promoting social awareness.

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During the announcement on the YouTube Pop-Up Space, Mukpim also unveiled a new data plan in partnership with AIS. It will offer unlimited data packs at 9 THB per day, for YouTube Go, an app that allows viewers in Thailand to watch and share YouTube videos even with slow or no internet connection.

Motorbike Mode, a new feature added to Google Maps in Thailand, was introduced by  the team of Google Maps Next Billion Users. The feature will help Thailand’s 20 million motorcyclists to plan routes taking into account shortcuts and narrow roads only motorbikes and scooters can travel and offers more accurate travel times that reflect motorbike speeds.

Lastly, Google Thailand announced a collaboration with Siam Commercial Bank that will allow Thai SMBs to sign up and be verified for Google My Business, a free business listing on Google Search and Google Maps, through Siam Commercial Bank personnel who will visit SMEs at their stores.

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