Search giant Google Inc, which gains advertisements when more people use the Internet more and more, is on an ambitious drive to link three billion people online by 2015.
To do this in markets like India, it is planning to boost its Free Zone application that enables cheaper lower-end phones that have limited ability to use features like Gmail, search and social networking.
The company is already in talks with telecom operators to bring this app to India.
Also, its free e-commerce platform, ‘Google Trader’, is likely to be launched soon. “The next wave of products we are launching will reach the Indian mainstream,” said Lalitesh Kabragadda, product head, Google India. About 90% of India’s 1.2 billion population is still beyond the internet’s reach.
“All Google products such as gmail, Hangout and You Tube in India will get loaded much faster once the data centres we are building in the Asia region become operational,” he said.
Google is building data centres in Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, investing $750 million. Kabragadda said the company will work with local developers to develop India-specific web applications.
‘India, get your business online’, a Google initiative to provide free websites to small and medium businesses, has received a good response, as 150,000 SMEs went online, with a record five-fold growth a year.
Google estimates that 500 million new users will be added in emerging markets in two years, while only 15 million users will get added in the US in that time.
“The first wave of internet growth was defined by developed countries while the current one is defined by massive countries such as India, Indonesia and Brazil,” said Julian Persaud, MD, sales and operations, South east Asia, Google.
(The writer’s travel, stay were sponsored by Google)