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With wider spread and deeper penetration of the Internet, greater effort is being poured into research and development to enhance the capabilities of Web-based technologies.

According to Shouvick Mukherjee, vice-president and chief executive officer of Yahoo India's Research and Development wing, the Web and the machine-human interaction is going in a direction where illiteracy won’t be a barrier as “human gesture, touch and voice are becoming input devices."

Yahoo India, which touched one billion page views recently, has stepped up its focus on India. There are three dimensions to this focus, says Mukherjee in an interview to The Hindu: providing more content, going local with languages as the Internet is moving from tier-II to tier-III cities and strengthening availability on mobile devices.

"We’re trying to look at building content partnerships to get Indian languages out on the Web. The next thing is to get translations, for which we are collaborating [with] colleges and universities... to, say, get the machine to learn to translate on a large scale. Of course, we’re not there yet; these are challenges," Mukherjee said in the interview.

According to a study by the global telecom body GSM Association (GSMA), actual mobile phone users in India are around 26% of the total population. GSMA Director General Anne Bouverot has said that on average, each user has 2 SIMs and in terms of unique number of subscribers, there are about 318 million actual users - about 26% of the total population. Data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India for October showed that out of the total 904.32 million wireless subscribers in the country, 703.92 million were active connections.

The study said the total number of mobile subscribers globally will stand at 3.2 billion by end of 2012, growing to 4 billion within the next five years.

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