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Eyeing India’s Connectivity, And The Next Billion Users, Google Gets Go-ing

Eyeing India’s Connectivity, And The Next Billion Users, Google Gets Go-ing

In a world where data and the internet go hand in hand — where commerce is done increasingly via mobile means — Google unveiled its plan to bring another billion users to the connected realm in India.

On Tuesday (Dec. 5), the company said several new services became available in the country, with an eye on entry-level smartphone users.

Google said via a blog post bylined by Caesar Sengupta, VP of the Next Billion Users Team, that India crossed the threshold of having 400 million internet users this year. The Indian population consumes more data than ever before.

Against that backdrop, Android has grown to more than 2 billion active devices globally, with more users in India than in even the United States. In India, he said, individuals are consuming 4 GB of data on average each month, slated to grow to 11 GB in the next few years.

To capitalize on this increased connectivity, Google debuted the Android Oreo (Go edition), which is geared toward the entry-level experience and comes in tandem with the Android 8.1 update. The blog stated that the operating system has improved data management and security features.

With reference to Google Apps, the company stated it’s introducing “lighter” offerings “relevant to the unique needs of people who are coming online for the first time.” The Google Play store will highlight the mobile apps that are designed to work optimally with a user’s devices.

Specifically addressing payments, the announcement also included information about its India-first mobile payments app Tez. That app, said Sengupta, “has seen huge growth in its first 10 weeks. Tez has processed over 140 million transactions from nearly 12 million active users. There are more than 525,000 merchants already on Tez, using it to take payments, pay their suppliers or transfer money to employees.” Adoption has been widespread across urban and rural areas.

Tez will debut a “customized experience to pay bills right in the app,” according to the blog. At least 70 billers will be supported, across services as varied as utilities and direct-to-home service providers. “Once people pay a bill on Tez,” said the executive, “they never have to add the billing organization again. Tez will also remind users when certain bills are due. And they can avoid paying the same bill twice, since the payment status will be automatically updated.”

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