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Google Free Zone brings free access to Google products for "the next billion users"

Google has launched a new service for those in the Philippines. The service is available for Globe Telecom customers and means free mobile access to Google services for those without a carrier data plan on their mobile phone.
November 8, 2012

While many of us take having a smartphone with always-connected data for granted, there are plenty that either cannot afford it, or simply don’t have it available. And with that in mind, Google has launched a new service. The service is dubbed the Google Free Zone and it will bring free mobile access to those without a carrier data plan.

But before everyone gets excited. The Google Free Zone is currently only available in one country and with one carrier. The country is the Philippines and the carrier is Globe Telecom. And while this rules out a vast amount of the readers, this is actually an interesting concept.

Google notes that the Free zone is “aimed at the next billion users of the Internet, many of whom will be in emerging markets and encounter the Internet first on a mobile phone, without ever owning a PC.” With that in mind, the Google Free Zone will allow users access to Google services such as email, search and Google+ — for free.

The email and Google+ access appears to be just that, access to those services. Here is where it gets more interesting though, with search. You see, Google will not only allow users to search for free, but also allow them to then surf to any of those sites that appear in the search results. Users trying to gain access to any site outside of the results would be presented with an invitation to subscribe to a carrier data plan.

All said and done, this sounds like an interesting concept. One that we would like to see roll-out to other areas. Of course, aside from some benefit to the users, we see a big benefit for Google and Globe Telecom. In that regard, Google is adding quite a few more eyes on their ads and the carriers, well, this seems like a good way to get them hooked on mobile data.