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Google India launches SMS

The search engine leader starts an SMS-based text message service in India, reports N Madhavan.
Hindustan Times | By Narayanan Madhavan, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 10, 2007 03:35 AM IST

Search engine leader Google Inc announced on Tuesday an SMS-based text message service for India, aiming to use its search capabilities and user-generated content listings on the Internet to help consumers find restaurants, movie halls and other local help.

In the process, Google will get a share of the revenue that mobile phone users will pay to telecom operators, who will charge anything between 80 paise to Rs 3 per message delivered by a shortcode, Vinay Goel, head of products for Google India, told Hindustan Times.

Google essentially uses content from local listings on its Web site, and the idea is to leverage its software-based search power, Goel said.

“With Google SMS mobile messaging service, users can get business listings, movie showtimes and more simply by sending a text message to the shortcode 54664 [5GOOG] from their mobile phones,” Google said in a statement.

The service is currently available on the Airtel, Aircel, BPL, BSNL and Reliance networks, and has relevant local data for mobile users in Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

Goel declined to disclose the revenue sharing details for Google or the number of users it has in India. He said there was no immediate plan to use search-based advertisements on the service, which is Google’s staple source of revenue. The search engine giant has turned active in India, hoping to match rivals such as Microsoft’s MSN and Yahoo in content-related revenues.

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