In the hopes of becoming the number one search engine in developing countries, Google is slowly launching its service across various countries allowing people to access its web pages even with low bandwidths. Developing countries like the Philippines, Brazil, India, etc. have huge populations with most of the people being very tech savvy. However, these countries lack advanced network infrastructures, limiting the internet bandwidths available to the masses. Google just launched a service known as Free Zone that allows people to access the Web, including Google Ads, from basic hand-held devices. This service aims to capture the burgeoning market in these developing countries amounting to billions of people.
The Service: Free Zone
According to their Product Manager – AbdelKarim Mardini, users in the emerging markets are using the Internet on their cell phones first – skipping the process of learning how to access the internet through PCs. This is why Free Zone will allow such users to use their phones to access Google products like Search, Gmail and Google+ for free.
This service has just been rolled out in the Philippines and will slowly be moved to other South-east and South Asian countries. The internet giant has tied up with Philippine-based telecommunication company Globe Telecom to offer this service to citizens of Philippines. Users can access websites in search results for free but will have to subscribe to a data plan to access any other website. To promote this service, the companies are offering a layer of free services to encourage people to use their phones to access the Internet.
The search engine giant has captured the smart phone market with its Android operating system being used on 75% of all new smart phones that are being shipped. Even so, surveys like the one conducted by GfK Group showed that basic phones are still more popular than smart phones in developing countries. For example, in the Philippines the sale of smart phones saw a huge growth in the past year but smart phones still constituted only 24% of all mobiles being used in the country. To cater to this yet untapped market, Google is vigorously promoting its Free Zone service in growing nations.