Expert from US explains why Google leads technology world

Published December 31, 2017
DR Zubair Anwar delivers the keynote speech at the ICICT on Friday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
DR Zubair Anwar delivers the keynote speech at the ICICT on Friday.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: At Google, we challenge each other’s ideas openly and freely and that is what which helped us grow and made us one of the top technology companies in the world.

These words were expressed by Dr Zubair Anwar, head of analytics for consumer operations at Google in Silicon Valley, California, on the first day of the two-day 7th International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies (ICICT) on Saturday.

The conference is being held by the Institute of Business Administration’s (IBA) Faculty of Computer Science at the JS auditorium on the city campus.

This year’s conference theme is ‘Information and communication technologies in everyday life’.

“Discussing all pros and cons of any project and receiving input from everyone help us devise effective policies. Too much input sometimes makes us scrappy but on the other hand, it provides us useful resources to learn and improve,” said Dr Anwar, who was speaking on the topic of ‘Power of analytical culture’.

“Google is undoubtedly one of the largest organisations in the world with 70,000 employees and 100 offices in 50 countries. Wallet, Play, Hangouts, Drive, Photos, Gmail, etc, are some of its most popular applications.

“The company has achieved this status only after carefully assessing feedback from all quarters and improving continuously, and this is what the analytics wing does.

“We collect previous data, diagnose the problem and then recommend actions for better performance.

“Knowledge of mathematical and statistical techniques is a must in discovering the problems and their solutions.

“Users can reach us through email, phone, chat, Hangouts and Tweets. They can even read our articles to discover solutions to their problems. We highly respect user experience and always prefer it over money.”

Replying to a question, the analytics expert from the US said: “It is difficult to change habits, therefore, Google concentrates more on hiring the right people and spends considerable time on it.”

Throwing light on the culture of open discussions and appreciation in US classrooms, Dr Anwar said students were always encouraged to ask good questions.

Dr Arshad Ali, executive director of the Higher Education Commission (HEC), who was the chief guest on the occasion, said: “Before starting anything, we must assess what we have achieved from the previous conference, what we have invented since then and how we have collaborated.

“We have to set targets for this conference too. It is not possible to grow without examining previous achievements and setting new goals.”

Talking about inventions in Pakistan, he said: “We need to invent technology at home. It is very important to know if our invented devices and technologies meet our expectations and solve our problems.”

Regarding the HEC’s role, he said: “We are striving towards developing solutions at home and have joined hands with some intellectual property organisations. We are also reviewing promotion criteria for faculty members,” he said.

“About Rs1.5 billion is funded by us every year for the national research programme. This year we received 4,000 proposals for the programme and are now selecting them.”

Earlier, Dr Farrukh Iqbal, IBA’s dean and director, welcomed the speakers, guests and students.

“The ICICT is now 12 years old. We hold it every two years. The conference is internationally recognised with speakers from around the globe,” he said.

“Some of you would be amazed to know that the IBA has been associated with communication technologies since 1960s and 1970s.”

Later, Dr Sibte Raza Abidi from Dalhousie University, Canada, delivered a lecture on algorithms for digital intelligence and Dr Imran Hayee from the University of Minnesota, US, spoke about the connected vehicle technology.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2017

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