Google’s main concern is getting people online, obviously due to the fact that most of their profits come from internet users; and hopefully because they want to help out, too. Regardless, it makes sense that they focus on emerging markets, as this is where most new internet users will come from. According to Internet Live Stats, only around 40% of the world population has an internet connection, and you can be sure this is something Google is working on changing.
Projects such as Android One, YouTube offline, Google Maps offline and Project Loon are only some of Google’s initiatives to bring a better online experience to emerging markets like India. Today the Mountain View-based tech company announces another big move to get millions of train commuters online, after welcoming Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Googleplex for a visit.
The Search Giant is collaborating with Indian Railways and RailTel to bring WiFi to 400 train stations in India. And Google claims this is not your usual internet connection, it is said to be “high-speed” broadband, which will be “many times faster than what most people in India have access to today”.
Google will launch this new service on 100 of the busiest stations, which should be online by the end of 2016. Other locations will follow soon afterwards. Regardless, this is a good advancement, as the first 100 stations should cover about 10 million users who take advantage of these stations every single day.
With over 300 million active users in India, this country ranks second in number of internet surfers, only surpassed by China. The kicker here is there are still about a billion Indians offline, which are the ones Google is trying to target here.
The best part? This service will be completely free at first. Yes… at first. In the long run, Google expects the service to be “self-sustainable” and get some profits in order to further expand to new stations.
So there you have it, fellow Indian techies! Soon you will be enjoying internet at many of your train stations, all thanks to Google’s efforts to get as many users online as possible. I just have to wonder how fast is “high speed internet”. Google is not specifying speeds, which definitely makes us very curious.