Google's free mobile internet aims to get 'the next billion' online

The company, which is trying to get 'the next billion' using its services, has begun offering a service in the Philippines called Free Zone, which lets people access websites on their featurephones for free as long as they get to the site via Google Search.
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Google has reportedly launched a service in the Philippines that lets people there access certain websites on their phones without having to pay their operator for mobile data.


The service, named Free Zone, provides free access to any site that the user visits via Google Search, as well as various services from the company such as Gmail, Google+ and, of course, Search. The Philippines is only the first of several territories in which Google intends to launch the service.

According to Reuters, the service was launched in conjunction with local operator Globe Telecom, and targets those who have 'featurephones' rather than smartphones. Featurephones usually have cut-down browsers these days, although their functionality is more geared towards basic voice and text.

"It's aimed at the next billion users of the internet, many of whom will be in emerging markets and encounter the internet first on a mobile phone, without ever owning a PC," Google product manager AbdelKarim Mardini was quoted as saying.

Google has been consistently active in trying to address developing markets. Last year, it made it possible for those with featurephones to set up Gmail accounts on such devices for the first time — previously, doing so involved using a desktop computer or smartphone.

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