There are currently nearly 4 billion Internet users in the entire world. Considering that this number is constantly on the rise as younger and older generations are discovering the Internet for the first time, the number could be well past that by the time you're reading this. And that is exactly why Google is already setting their sights on the next billion users.
Officials with Google are currently entertaining startup enterprises and capital investors throughout India. They're hopeful that these talks will lead to an investment or acquisition of their own, which will ultimately help them cater to the next billion Internet users.
A Market Ignored
It might come as a surprise to some, but Google has yet to obtain any companies in India. When you consider that they've acquired nearly 100 companies from all corners of the world since 2014 alone, it's safe to say that India has been unfairly ignored.
Prior hesitation to tap into the Indian market can be attributed to a variety of reasons; including the fact a mere 35% of their population is currently online. This amounts to just over 460 million users, which is rather paltry when compared to China and their 730 million users.
However, Google addressed this issue in a recent blog post by stating: "The growth of the Internet has been explosive in India. Every second, three more Indians come online for the first time — that’s over 10,000 people every hour. But this latest wave of Internet users still has significant barriers to getting the most out of the Internet: low-powered phones, 2G connections, and very little data."
Google-owned company, YouTube, specifically designed their newest app, dubbed YouTube Go, to cater to the next billion Internet users. Originally available solely in India, the app has recently been rolled out in other markets. Google Station, which is meant to provide Wi-Fi connectivity for passengers of public transportation, was recently launched in Mumbai.
Officials with Facebook have shown an increased interest in India as of late, too. While the popular social media site only has an Indian user base of approximately 130 million, they're actively trying to jumpstart that figure.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, was recently quoted as saying: "Our mission is to give everyone in the world the power to share what’s important to them and to connect every person in the world. And India is the world’s largest democracy. There are a billion people in India who do not have access to the Internet yet, and if we care about connecting everyone in the world, you can’t do that if there are so many people who don’t have access to basic connectivity."
The Race Is On
Now that the race is officially on, companies from all over IT are scrambling to accommodate the next billion users. Whether these newbies will come from India, the United States or any point in between has yet to be determined, but one thing is for certain: it won't be long until we find out.
Google Already Taking Aim at the Next Billion Internet Users
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