Featured Sessions at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival showcase some of the world’s most innovative thinkers. Today’s installment of the Featured Session Feature focuses on Sundar Pichai of Google. At SXSW, catch his session “Sundar Pichai Conversation with John Battelle” on Saturday, March 9 at 12:30 pm.
Sundar Pichai is a Senior Vice President at Google, where he oversees the company’s Android apps along with its Chrome web browser and operating system. He is at the forefront of the tech giant’s product management and innovation efforts and has more than 15 years of experience developing high-tech consumer and enterprise products.
Pichai was tapped to run Google’s Android division last spring after a successful stint launching the Chrome browser and operating system for lightweight laptop computers.
“Sundar has a talent for creating products that are technically excellent yet easy to use - and he loves a big bet,” Google CEO Larry Page said shortly after the company announced the move. “Take Chrome, for example. In 2008, people asked whether the world really needed another browser. Today Chrome has hundreds of millions of happy users and is growing fast thanks to its speed, simplicity and security.”
A native of India, Pichai holds a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, an M.S. from Stanford University and an MBA from the Wharton School, where he was distinguished as a Siebel Scholar and a Palmer Scholar. He worked for Applied Materials and as a management consultant for McKinsey & Co. before joining Google in 2004.
At Google, Pichai led the development and management of a suite of software products, including Chrome and Google Drive. Pichai was also involved with other Google search products - Google Toolbar, Desktop Search, Gadgets, Google Pack, Google Gears and Firefox extensions – as well as apps like Gmail and Google Maps.
Pichai attracted public attention by unveiling Chrome OS in 2009 and demonstrating how the operating system is designed to make the computing experience similar in both simplicity and speed to watching TV. He’s also been on the big stage to introduce a number of other Google products, including the Chromebook, to the world.
Despite reported efforts to poach him by other leading tech companies (including rumors in January that he was the top choice for the then vacant CEO position at Microsoft), Pichai has continued to climb the ladder at Google, helping Chrome earn a dominant share of the web browsing business and continuing to develop Chrome OS as a viable alternative to Microsoft Windows. He is also responsible for the company’s HTML5 and open web platform efforts.
Pichai has served as a director at Jive Software since 2011. The Palo Alto-based social business software developer’s flagship product, Jive, combines micro-blogging, instant messaging and discussion forums with voice, video and data capabilities in a single interface. He’s also a member of the Board of Advisors at Ruba, Inc., the company behind an online travel guide that was acquired by Google in 2011. The website allows users to exchange information about attractions, activities, lodging and restaurants for a wide array of travel destinations.
Pichai lives in Northern California with his wife.
Register now to be part of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival and to attend the “Sundar Pichai Conversation with John Battelle” session on Sunday, March 9. For the full picture of all sessions and evening events at the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival, visit the day-by-day schedule. Also, learn more about the best of the best programming for the 2014 SXSW Interactive Festival by visiting the new Recommendations page.