Media's Tech Illiteracy?

Allow me to be that guy who for once ignores his emotions and patriotism and just says WTF.

A few weeks back, there was big fanfare orchestrated by a lot of Indian media outlets regarding a homegrown web browser called as Epic. I was a bit skeptical already, but after downloading and using Epic, I outrightly recommend reading those reports as a case study in technology sensationalism. I’m not putting down the Epic packaging, as a one click browser suite it has quite done its job. But what puts me off are the claims that this is India’s answer to Mozilla! But hey, the browser IS Mozilla’s, just that they have packaged a few utilities, plug-ins and wallpapers into one single pack. It is not a new browser, and it definitely is not the hallmark moment marking the maturity of Indian software.

This is not the only example. After this came the $35 palmtop. This time it wasn’t just the Indian media that jumped into the bandwagon, I saw such reports even on foreign news outlets like BBC News and The Guardian. I don’t really know how this $35 laptop is going to work out, especially since we import most of the hardware from China. Haven’t these journalist had the sense to look up the status of some of the other low cost appliances the Indian government announced a few years ago? I’m talking about the Simputer (to be fair, it was atleast insignificantly successful), the under $100 computer and the numerous other projects. They are all paper tigers that didn’t seem to have seen the light of day. I sincerely do hope that I am wrong and our Government actually builds this. But I’ll believe it when I see it.

And does anyone remember Bhuvan? Touted as the Google Earth killer. I haven’t even been able to get it working so far. After all the media hype surrounding this, I don’t even find a mention of that now in any of the newspapers or by the government.

What we need to do is to encourage the REAL projects that came out from India and Indians. Like Zoho or Varamozhi or Quillpad or MashiThantu or Posterous (atleast in part). Why don’t these awesome products never get a mention anywhere in the media? Sad!

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