I wrote this in Jan 2004 about the state of Indian portals then:
It is time for us to rethink the Indian content space. As telecom competition makes connectivity cheaper and available at higher speeds, as the cost of access devices goes down, there will be a need for innovative content and community services which can bring the fizz back. Ready for version 2.0 (or is it 3.0) of the Indian dotcoms – or have we already gone to sleep?
…An always-on, broadband access infrastructure and affordable access devices are two of the three legs that the Indian Internet infrastructure needs to be built on. The third is the availability of content, software and services which can attract users and make the Internet a key part of their lives. This is where visible innovation has stagnated, with the current art being the web browser, websites that we visit and search engines that we scour to get to the websites. What is needed is a New Information Platform.
I was reminded of this when a journalist called me up recently to talk about IndiaWorld and the state of Internet portals in India. The Great Indian Portal that becomes a utility in our daily lives is yet to be created.