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Author Archives: YDA

Google wants almost entire India online

Google wants almost entire India online

Tech giant Google has said it has set a target of taking the number of Indians using internet to a whopping one billion-mark.

“We have a very simple mission in India. We want to get a billion Indians online ,” its vice president for South East Asia and India, Rajan Anandan said at an event here.

However he did not give any timeline for the target, but said India has 350 million internet users now and the number is expected to reach 600 million by 2020.

The Google executive further said this is possible by making the internet more accessible and affordable, which the company is trying to do through its initiatives like free Wi-Fi at railway stations in association with Railtel. Read More…

Google wants almost entire India online

India’s Internet Is Really Slooooooooooooooooow

India’s Internet Is Really Slooooooooooooooooow

Google may be the world’s biggest Internet company, but Rajan Anandan, the head of its India operation, says he’s become just as focused on what users are doing offline. His team has led Google’s push into apps that can download data for later use without an active mobile connection. One helps people navigate New Delhi public transit; another lets users store YouTube videos for replay; a third offers an offline version of Google Maps. These efforts all have the same goal: making Google products easy to use even with poor Internet connections.

About 375 million to 400 million people in India are online, the world’s second-largest Internet population after China. Many depend on mobile connections that can only be generously called spotty. Indians who use smartphones to go online have access to a wireless network only about 56 percent of the time, estimates Ericsson, the Swedish mobile tech company. The average connection speed is 2.5 megabits per second, according to Akamai Technologies, a company that makes technology to speed delivery of Web content. (The average speed in the U.S., which isn’t exactly best in class, is 12.7 Mbps, and in South Korea it’s 20.5 Mbps.) “Sometimes you get 2G, sometimes you get 3G, and sometimes you get no G,” Anandan says. “The important thing is to build products that can work on patchy networks.”

In February, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India released regulations effectively banning Facebook’s Free Basics, a product available in about three dozen countries that offers free access to a stripped-down version of Facebook and a handful of sites that provide news, weather, nearby health-care options, and other info. The government, along with open-Internet advocates, reasoned that making Facebook synonymous with the online world for many new users would hurt competitors. There’s no shortage of software developers in the country, the thinking goes—what users need is a bigger pipe. Read More….

India’s Internet Is Really Slooooooooooooooooow

The battle for India’s e-commerce market is about much more than retailing

The battle for India’s e-commerce market is about much more than retailing

EVERY second three more Indians experience the internet for the first time. By 2030 more than 1 billion of them will be online. In June last year one in four mobiles used in India was a smartphone, up from one in five just six months earlier. Add in two more facts—India boasts the world’s fastest-growing large economy, and the planet’s biggest population of millennials—and you can see why the likes of Facebook, Uber and Google are falling over themselves to establish footholds there.

No battle for the online future of India is more intense than the one now being waged in e-commerce (see article). Sales are still tiny, at $16 billion last year, but the country is the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce market and is prized by America’s and China’s internet titans. India has become the biggest test of Amazon’s international ambitions. Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, wants it to be his second-largest market, after America, and has backed his plans with billions of dollars of investment. His opponents are platforms like Flipkart and Snapdeal, founded by locals and funded by some of the biggest names in tech, among them Alibaba, China’s e-commerce champion.

As these companies jostle for market share, they are spending feverishly on logistics and discounts to lure consumers online. Capital may dry up for some; in February a Morgan Stanley mutual fund sharply lowered the valuation of its stake in Flipkart. But whoever wins or loses in this frenzied contest, the importance of e-commerce stretches beyond individual firms and into the wider economy. In the West e-commerce companies piggybacked on an existing infrastructure of shops, banks and logistics firms. In India the game being played by the e-commerce pioneers is leapfrog. It could become a model for emerging markets around the world. Read More…

The battle for India’s e-commerce market is about much more than retailing

Startups Haven’t Replaced India’s 19th Century Food Delivery Service

Startups Haven’t Replaced India’s 19th Century Food Delivery Service

More than 400 food delivery apps started up in India over the past three years, raising $120 million from venture capital firms and other investors. Luring customers with photos of tasty curries along with discounts and free delivery, they sought to disrupt the delivery networks that have existed in India since the 1890s, including Mumbai’s famously low-tech dabbawalas, who ferry 175,000 meals—some from cooks’ homes, others from central kitchens—to office workers and students daily. The time-tested deliverymen carry boxes via trains, bicycles, and pushcarts to their hungry clients, using a system of alphanumeric codes printed on reusable containers.

The new services offered something dabbawalas don’t: last-minute ordering and the ability to choose dishes from hundreds of restaurants. Dabbawalas require a monthly commitment, and customers are locked into a meal plan for the entire period. Even so, most of the high-tech startups have foundered, and dozens have closed. The ones that are surviving, including TinyOwl and Foodpanda Hellofood’s India unit, are shrunken versions of their former selves. “The story was glorious when they had lots of money in the bank, but they went madly after customer growth and spent it quickly,” says Anil Joshi, an investor and founder of Unicorn India Ventures in Mumbai, who didn’t invest in food delivery companies.

Meanwhile, the dabbawalas appear to be busier than ever. While they have no apps, they’ve managed to retain market share. And they’re jumping on the e-commerce bandwagon themselves—by lending delivery staff to companies such as giant e-tailer Flipkart and offering training programs for new tech-enabled merchandise delivery startups such as Roadrunnr. Read More…

Startups Haven’t Replaced India’s 19th Century Food Delivery Service

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