In a recent update, Google is starting an initiative in India to optimize its search results on mobile devices. This optimization will bring faster Google search on mobiles even on slower internet connection (2G or 1x).
Google is serious about this, that’s mainly because Mountainview based company’s majority of revenues come from online advertisements. But now Facebook is becoming a strong competitor to Google, thanks to Facebook’s popularity on social turf. Facebook’s social ads & promoted content is soon becoming a strong revenue source.
In the last few years mobile operators have tied up with different websites to offer their subscribers free access to these websites; like MTS was offering yahoo.in & wikipedia.com free of cost. But Google was never in such deals till 2 years ago.
Google has been investing in its internet services in India. First they promoted GOSF (great online shopping festival) in December 2012 which was a similar to America’s black Friday sale. Several e-commerce sites incl. flipkart, snapdeal, homeshop18, jabong, myntra, makemytrip participated in the GOSF. GOSF was held again in 2013, making it an annual event.
Recently Google launched its Android One initiative in India, first across the globe. Google partnered with Indian vendors – Micromax, Karbonn and Spice to launch android smartphones with good specs & latest AndroidOS at a very affordable price. Such devices are mainly targeted towards developing nations. Launching first in India signifies that India is a very serious market for Google.
What’s next from Google? It can be anything. Mobile service providers can be tapped for zero data usage on Google search & other G-services including Google+ & GMail (Google free zone). GFZ has already been launched on Airtel’s network in June 2013.
Globally, Google is making efforts to bring internet at lower cost to the masses. Google fiber services, currently available in Kansas City, United States and will cover another 34 cities by 2022.
Last year Google started a new project – Loon, to offer internet services in rural & remote places using high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere at an altitude of about 32 km to create an aerial wireless network with up to 3G-like speeds. The pilot was started in New Zealand in 2013. Google plans to cover Australia, Chile, Argentina & Brazil with Project Loon in coming days.
With increasing involvement with India’s internet related projects Google may take a lead to improve India’s pathetic internet services.
The reason being Facebook’s owner Mark Zukerberg, who is pushing Internet dot org initiative in the country aiming for affordable internet on handheld devices. A project similar to Google Fiber? In my opinion Google may not start on its own, rather tie up with existing ISP.
At this point Google may find the situation confusing – whom to choose? Larger or pan India based internet service providers like BSNL, Airtel, Tata, Reliance Communications; or smaller metro based players like ACT Broadband, Beam Fiber or Alliance; or yet-to-be-launched pan India 4G player Reliance Jio Infocomm.
I think Jio can be the choice of partner for Google for bringing affordable internet connectivity to millions of Indians. The reason is simple: Jio’s philosophy is similar – change the digital lives of Indians. Not only that Jio has that massive infrastructure including the rented ones to support that dream.