Rumors hit the blogosphere and press late last week on Google latest attempt to assert itself on yet another facet of online life. Google in true altruistic intent wants to make life easier for most everybody in the developing world by getting somebody else to pay for your mobile data. They are working on a platform for zero rating apps.
Now, 1-800 Data or toll-free data is not a new thing, but Google is building the concept into its Android One initiative (see here). The Android One program is about creating a cheap ecosystem of smartphones and devices that are affordable to almost anyone in developing regions. It was intentionally launched last year in India, where the potential market is huge. Google’s one remaining hurdle to convert the masses of potential customers is now the cost of mobile data. Problem solved! Google will get app developers to pay for it…
According to Amir Efrati [TheInformation], Google is exploring an expansion of Android One’s benefits for users in these regions, where mobile data coverage is not only unreliable, but also disproportionately expensive compared to the rest of the world. Google wants to help alleviate some of the mobile data burden on users by “zero rating apps” data transmission for certain applications. That is, Google is attempting to form relationships with carriers and developers whereby certain apps would not use any of the allotted data on your mobile data plan.
Google is starting work on this initiative with companies like Flipkart and Snapdeal in India, along with developers of apps like Ola Cabs and Redbus. The idea is that Google will be a zero-rating middleman: developers work with Google to get their apps zero-rated, and Google works with the carriers to zero-rate all the developers it represents. The program isn’t attempting to make all of your mobile data usage free, though, and is focusing on apps that consume a finite amount of data to begin with, at least for now. So, don’t expect your VoIP calls or YouTube binges to be getting billed to the big G any time soon. More Here… [AndroidPolice]
In an interesting take by BGR, they lead the story with this title…
Is Google about to stab net neutrality right in the back?
Google has been a pretty consistent advocate for net neutrality in the United States but it apparently doesn’t feel the need to be as strong a supporter in other countries. The Information has a new report out detailing how Google plans to make mobile data in emerging markets cheaper for consumers by picking up the data consumption tab for things like app updates… but only for its own apps and the apps of special partners. More Here… [BGR]