As Google turned 18, it is going all out to woo India. It launched five products—targeted at India and partially developed here as well—with the clear-cut objective of getting more people online and making it easier for them to download more data easily and cheaper.
As Google turned 18, it is going all out to woo India. It launched five products—targeted at India and partially developed here as well—with the clear-cut objective of getting more people online and making it easier for them to download more data easily and cheaper. As the number of Indians going online is expected to nearly double to 650 million by 2020, the first objective will take care of itself. Some of the products launched will help meet the second objective—falling data tariffs post-RJio will also help. After what it did with maps, Google has been looking at introducing more offline solutions—download while in a Wi-Fi area and listen/watch later. The YouTube Go app it plans to launch early next year allows users save and watch videos despite poor connectivity—they can not only preview a video, but can also select the quality and choose the file size before saving it to watch it offline later. It also allows users to share the videos using Wi-Fi Direct.
A new Chrome Data Saver that reduces cellular data usage by using proxy servers hosted at Google to optimise content, is part of the strategy to make data cheaper. With Data Saver enabled, Chrome helps users save 67% of data while viewing MP4 format videos; it also compresses images and text, saving 60% of the data without compromising on the content. In India, Google claims, this will save 138TB of data on video alone in a week. Chrome also allows users to tap a download button to save a website or video later—the moment the user goes online, Chrome will automatically resume downloads. The rise in demand for search in Indic languages has also ensured that the Google Assistant, that is part of the Allo app, will be available in Hindi soon. With 400 million out of the 650 million users online in 2020 estimated to use regional languages, the Hindi focus is quite on target. As operators roll-out 4G services and more spectrum is acquired in the auctions starting later this week, the data play for Indian consumers just got a leg up.