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Google plans to end data charges on Android apps in developing countries

Google is
planning to end charges for data usage on Android apps in developing countries,
according to a report from the Information.

Google is
planning to end charges for data usage on Android apps in developing countries,
according to a report from the Information.

The practice of
waiving data charges is called a “zero rating.” It’s a policy adopted
by some big tech companies to make accessing their services free for the user.
Wikipedia, for example, operates Wikipedia Zero – a text-only version of the
encyclopedia that people in the developing world can access without restriction
and without paying data charges.

The Information
says that Google’s plans would entail the search giant acting as a “middle
man” between mobile carriers and the app companies – making it easier for
smaller companies to arrange zero-ratings than is currently feasible.
“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,” writes The Information’s Amir Efrati.
“The third-party developer would then be expected to pay some or all of
the charge.”

According to the
report, Google identifies a need, and provides the service for free, scalable
for billions of users – tying users into its ecosystem in the process. It then
makes money by charging advertisers for access to all those users and their
valuable demographic data.

The company is also
working on Google Loon, a project to provide Internet to remote areas by
balloon, as well as a rumoured mobile wireless carrier service in the US. 

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