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Google turns 18, unveils products designed for India

Last updated on: September 27, 2016 19:46 IST

Google announced a new Wi-Fi platform called Google Station, a video app called 'YouTube Go' and an offline feature for Chrome web browser and faster loading in Google Play on 2G network

Google turned 18, on Tuesday, and hosted a big party in India to unveil a bouquet of products designed for the world's second largest Internet market.

The focus of the products announced today - a new Wi-Fi platform called Google Station and a video app 'YouTube Go' - is to tap into the burgeoning Internet market in India, where users are primarily coming online through smartphones.

Outlining the three key areas of focus -- access, products and platforms -- Google vice president (Next Billion Users) Caesar Sengupta said that the US-based company is working to provide a better and more inclusive online experience for users in India.

"Our goal has not just been to help more Indians get online, but also to help Indians create the online experience they want. So, we have been thinking about how to build products and services for this wave of new users - products that work for any level of connectivity, in local Indian languages, and across the devices that are most frequently used in India," he added.

Following its partnership with RailTel and Indian Railways to provide Wi-Fi at Indian railway stations, Google has now launched a new platform called Google Station.

The new platform will work with partners like system integrators (SIs) and venue owners to roll out Wi-Fi hotspots, Sengupta said.

He added that this will provide more people in India and around the world fast, reliable, and secure Wi-Fi in places like malls, transit stations, and cafes.

Besides, users on a low-bandwidth connection will now be able to choose and install an app through their mobile network or install it when the phone next connects to Wi-Fi.

Google is also focusing on the next million of users who will come online in the coming years in regional languages other than English.

Its new messaging app 'Allo' will introduce support in Hindi for its Google Assistant later this year, Amit Fulay, group product manager at Google, said.

Google has also announced a group of tailored features for Chrome, like automatic optimising of pages when 2G-like networks are detected. These simplified pages load up to 2X faster, saving more than 90 per cent of data usage. This data saver feature will now support videos as well, helping users save upto 67 per cent data.

Rajan Anandan, vice-president, India and South East Asia said the company's vision is to make India a global hub of innovation and produce high quality mobile developers who will build not just for India but for the world.

India is one of the fastest growing markets for Internet usage. The user base, driven primarily by booming smartphone adoption, is pegged to grow from 350 million to 650 million by 2020.

The smartphone base in the same period is poised to grow to 500 million from 300 million in 2016.

Image: Employees work in their shared office space, decorated with a safari theme, at the Google office in downtown San Francisco. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters.

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