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Google targeting "the next billion" with free services

Posted: , by Ray S.

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Google targeting
Now here's an interesting new offering by Google - it's called Free Zone and is designed for users from emerging markets. Free Zone allows users to access Google Search, Google+ and Gmail free of charge, and using these services doesn't even require a data plan.

Free Zone, accessible through the g.co/freezone domain should work with almost any internet-enabled phones (mainly featurephones). It's not optimized for smartphones, but should work on those as well. There are some simple rules to using Free Zone: everything is for free, except for clicking a link that goes out of Google+, viewing an email attachment or clicking a link that's found on a webpage that has been a search result. That last one means that when you've done a Google search, you're free to click on any result you like, and you won't be charged for that. But if you have clicked on, say, result 3, and then you click on a link that's found on the webpage of result 3, then data charges will apply. Thankfully, each time there's danger of being charged for data traffic, there will be a pop-up warning.

Obviously, this service requires Google to partner with a lot of carriers around the world, its roll-out won't be very quick. And, as we said, it's designed for emerging markets, so it's likely that it won't come to the U.S. or Europe. Free Zone has just launched in the Philippines with the carrier Globe. If the service turns out to be a success, Google will probably expand it to other locations as well.

source: Google via Reuters

17 Comments
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posted on 08 Nov 2012, 09:06 11

1. GENERAL-LEVY (banned) (Posts: 23; Member since: 06 Nov 2012)


Wishing you all the very best, good luck, we are all behind you!

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 09:21 18

2. PhenomFaz (Posts: 1098; Member since: 26 Sep 2012)


Only Google can do it....make a billion and still provide free stuff :)
Unlike certain fruit companies that are just too greedy...ok i know i'm trollin but I'm allowed too once in a while :)
Best of Luck Google!

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 09:31 10

3. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3023; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


"Apple offers free SIRI and iMaps download for other platforms"...NAH!!! Not possible!! :D

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 16:15 4

14. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)


Apple isn't in the business of giving things out for free. Before you thumb me down, neither are most companies. Google has a unique business model that allows them to offer products for free in exchange for user information. This, of course, is used to sell ads. Nothing is ever for free. With Google, you pay with your information. Not a bad thing, just the way it works.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 17:16 1

15. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3023; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


Why would i thumb you down man! It's not free either, lol.
I'm just whoopin' around with Apple buddy...
And thanks for the info...:)

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 10:26 1

4. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 4019; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


How can google offer something free that was never paid for?

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 10:41 14

5. Savage (unregistered)


Jesus. Are you kidding me? Read the article atleast! Google services accessed via the url g.co/freezone won't be counted under your data consumption. Hence, "free".

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 11:34 9

7. MorePhonesThanNeeded (Posts: 645; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


Apple's worst supporters are usually the quick draw types who can't comprehend anything, just shoot off at the mouth. This sounds like an interesting idea, how will it pan out, only time will tell.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 15:10 5

10. GeekMovement (Posts: 1519; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


it's not the first time he commented without reading the article. Sometimes it looks like he just comments after reading the title.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 17:20 2

16. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3023; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)


"Sometimes it looks like he
just comments after reading the title."...shouldn't it be
"Sometimes it looks like he just reads after commenting."? Correct me if i'm wrong, but that sounds more appropriate for Mxyzptlk

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 23:29

17. Mxyzptlk (Posts: 4019; Member since: 21 Apr 2012)


Nothing is ever free. There's a cost somewhere in there and it will pass down onto someone. Carriers also have to agree to it according to the article making the rollout a little slow.

i guess this means i did read the article.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 11:22 3

6. shuaibhere (Posts: 1659; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)


For india pls!!!!

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 11:56 1

8. noim1 (Posts: 297; Member since: 15 May 2012)


Yup love the Idea .....Hope it reaches to Bangladesh as well...go Google !!!

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 14:25

9. Zero0 (Posts: 583; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


It's more than unlikely that it will come to the US -- it's probably illegal.
It sounds like a net neutrality violation. A nice thing to do for those in developing countries, but in the US, it would give Google an unfair advantage against its competitors.

If it is somehow net neutral, this would still be more ammunition against Google in their anti-trust investigation.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 15:50

11. TheMan (Posts: 416; Member since: 21 Sep 2012)


And here I'm thinking that tens of million of Americans could benefit from this, but that the reason it may not happen is the carriers' wish to only offer paid services.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 16:08

13. Zero0 (Posts: 583; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


The reason it's illegal has nothing to do with what carriers want. Landline ISPs really, really want net neutrality to be dropped by the FCC. Reason is, services like Netflix hurt Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, etc. If a customer can get Internet service and Netflix and not need to buy a cable package, that hurts the cable company. If net neutrality were dropped, these companies could conceivably throttle or even block competing services. Similarly, it would be possible for a company to ask for preferential service (i.e. Yahoo could pay Verizon to have Google slowed down, thus giving Yahoo an edge).

Carriers could also benefit from a non-net neutral Internet. In this example, the carriers will get money from Google, and customers would be dissuaded from using Bing or Facebook.

Google's "Free Zone" helps customers, but the barrier in place against such a service is there only to benefit consumers.

And again, even if we lose net neutrality, Google is under investigation for anti-competitive practices. While I believe that Google has used its market power for good, this is still giving Google something of an unfair advantage.

posted on 08 Nov 2012, 16:06

12. lonestrider (Posts: 85; Member since: 31 Mar 2012)


What Nokia is that??

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