December 8, 2013
Lino Cattaruzzi, General Manager of Google ArgentinaSunday, September 22, 2013
‘Argentina is one of the leading markets for Internet use’
CVBuenos Aires City
Marital status: Married with two children
Education: Bachelor degree in Information Technology at Universidad Argentina de la Empresa (UADE)
Current job: General Manager of Google Argentina
Previous jobs: Google Sales
Strategies Manager (California)and Online Sales Manager (Dublin). President and General Manager at AOL Latin America.
Newspapers: Cronista Comercial, La Nación and Clarín
After working for Google in Dublin and California, Lino Cattaruzzi returned to his home country in 2012 to lead the company’s office in Argentina. Cattaruzzi began his career studying information technology in Buenos Aires and then working at AOL as its president for Latin America. Later, he decided to take a break from corporate life and spend a year working at his French wife’s restaurant in Paris. The head of Google Argentina talked to the Herald earlier this month, when he not only detailed what the company has planned for Argentina but also laid out why users should feel safe using the company’s products despite the recent claims by former US contractor Edward Snowden about the cooperation between Internet companies and government agencies.
Why did Google decide to create a branch in Argentina in 2007?
Argentina is and always has been one of the leading markets for Internet use across the globe. Even though the economy ranks third in Latin America, Argentina is much more important than other countries when it comes to the Internet. Argentines also have a strong entrepreneurial spirit so it was clear Google needed to be here.
In what areas does Google focus its business in Argentina?
Google has a number of business areas here but the main one is selling online advertising. We offer it for all kinds of companies that want to sell their products online or want to broadcast their products to be sold in stores. We also offer diverse contents and apps through Google Play and encourage companies to use “the cloud”.
How successful have you been in your push to get more people to store information in “the cloud” online rather than their hard drives?
We are at a starting point and companies know that they have to be in “the cloud”. They are beginning to see that being on “the cloud” can have a direct impact in their daily operations.
Why would a company choose to change the way it operates to begin storing their information online?
There’s a long list of advantages, even from a financial point of view because it helps to save money. ‘The cloud‘ allows people to collaborate in the company’s work and have access to documents from any device. I travel a lot and I can work from any country without needing to be in my office. I have everything I need in ‘the cloud‘.
What does it mean for Google to be the most popular search engine in Argentina?
The company’s mission is to organize the information and make it universally accessible so if people are using our services it means we are doing a good job and that they are finding what they need in our search engine.
What does a company need to do to have a successful online strategy?
Business leaders need to understand that now seven out of 10 people search online before buying a product. People don’t behave as they did 10 years ago, they are constantly changing.
Having said that, is it hard to make companies understand the importance of having online ads?
Making people adapt to new situations always takes time. In companies most of the time young people understand the concept easily but making the entire organization feel the same way takes time.
How does the pending development of a broader Internet network in Argentina affect Google?
If we look at Latin America statistics, Argentina is not in a bad place considering that between 50 and 70 percent of the population has access to the Internet. But everybody should be able to use the Internet and there are a lot of people who still do not have access. The speed and quality of the connection also has to be taken in account since improving it means improving people’s lives.
What do you think of government programmes to increase computer and Internet access?
The fact that the government has decided to provide computers to kids is extremely positive. Computer literacy is essential and children need to have access to machines in order to learn. I don’t evaluate the programmes from a commercial point of view, I see them as a tool for the country to grow and develop.
What policies does the company implement to safeguard people’s data in Gmail and Google Drive?
I believe in Google and because of that I have my personal data in “the cloud” like my kids’ pictures. Safety is a priority for the company and we have good and solid safety procedures. Nevertheless, Google users don’t analyze safety as they should and that forces us to do communication and education campaigns about our services. If people changed their passwords frequently and implement our two—step verification software, most of the popular problems would be fixed.
Edward Snowden revealed that Google, along with other firms, provided data on users to the US National Security Agency?
Snowden accusations are completely false. Google doesn’t just give information to the NSA. We are transparent in all of our operations and reveal all the data requests we have and how we proceed with them. Safety isn’t something Google has just started to work on. The company has developed a specific area regarding privacy and we are always working on these issues. We always do what the courts ask us to do.
But isn’t Google’s recent announcement of new safety measures related to Snowden’s revelations?
No, it’s part of the company’s policy that we have been working on for a long time and we will continue to do so. Every now and then we change our safety policies but it has nothing to do with Snowden. The case had a lot of impact in the media so we decided to expand our message and explain the company’s policies to users.
What do you think of Argentina’s economy and what has been the impact of government policies on the company?
Our industry is going through a lot of changes and because of that our company has grown a lot and we hope to continue growing. We have high expectations for Argentina in 2014. If the country continues growing, everybody will benefit from that.
What are Google’s expectations and projects for the near future of the company?
We want everybody to be connected to the Internet and to do that we focus on our mission to organize the information in an accessible way. We have started working on Google Now that can anticipate what the user wants. YouTube will continue growing and we want to improve our mobile services.