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India getting low-bandwidth range of Google apps

Google is launching a range of products and services specifically aimed at the Indian market.

With the stated goal of “[deepening] India’s participation in the internet”, the search engine giant is introducing services which will function with low-spec devices, over 2G connections, and using only a very small amount of data.

One example is YouTube Go, which is currently only available in India. The app, which will be beta-tested by users, is a version of the streaming site “completely reimagined for the next generation of YouTube users.” It will stream videos across variable connectivity speeds, as well as allowing users to share videos to nearby friends without using data.

Google also claims that the app will offer transparency over data usage, allowing users to control their consumption of data. Customers will be offered the option to “wait for Wi-Fi” when they attempt to install an app, and the Google Play app will pre-load the most commonly used sections of the store via Wi-Fi in order to speed up browsing when limited data is available.

In addition, when Android users browse using Chrome over speeds comparable to 2G networks, the browser will automatically “optimise pages to their essentials”, making them load up to twice as fast and allowing users to save up to 90% of the data that would otherwise be required.

In the same way, Google’s News and Weather apps will have a “lite mode” triggered when the apps detect low-bandwidth connections. The mode will allow content to be downloaded faster while using only a third of the regular amount of data.

Other India-friendly features include a Hindi version of both Google’s ‘smart replies’ feature and its new messaging app Allo. The firm will also introduce Google Station, which will allow users to create Wi-Fi zones from fibre connections.

Caesar Sengupta, VP of Google’s Next Billion Users Team, said: “building for India and other countries where the next billion internet users are coming online not only improves their experiences, it gives us better ideas that work for everyone.”

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