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    Google Wants to Make Data Usage on Android Phones Free

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    In Google’s latest bid to stay at the top of the tech game, they’ve declared their intention to end data charges on Android apps in developing countries.

    Google engineers have been collaborating with app developers in emerging economies — like the Indian tech company Flipkart — regarding their plan to reduce smartphone data charges for apps on the Android, according to tech news site The Information.

    The move was first announced last year as their “Android One” initiative, which seeks to bring Android phones to developing countries. The initiative targets markets where mobile data coverage is often unreliable, as well as relatively expensive. Google will use a “zero-rating” system, which will eliminate data charges on certain designated apps. 

    "When someone is downloading or using, say, the Ola Cabs app, Google can recognise that data traffic through Android and pay the carrier for the data charge associated with it," the Information reports. "The third-party developer would then be expected to pay some or all of the charge."

    This is to make their services easily accessible for the user. Facebook and Wikipedia, among other internet services, also practice Zero-rating.

    High data charges in developing countries can prevent the type of access to the internet that people in wealthier societies enjoy. 

    This new strategy is in line with Google’s strategy of providing a product or service for free in order to dominate a certain sector.  In this case, getting its Android products into the hands of users by mitigating costs, creates a whole new consumer base in countries where people have been shut out entirely due to high charges. 

    Android is a free operating system that is installed on some of the cheapest smartphones on the market. Despite the low price, sales of the Android were some of the worst ever during the fourth quarter of 2014, according to Business Insider. 

    Google makes most of its revenue through online advertising, and the move to get its products into more users’ hands will mean increased ad revenue and more valuable user data. 

    Tags:
    smartphones, developing countries, Android, Google, Google Inc, United States, India
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