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Google roams India in internet demo bus

Nonprofit & Social Cause

Though most of the Western world now breathes online oxygen as freely as the elemental kind, that’s not true in other parts of the globe. Recognizing that fact, Google has launched an effort to demonstrate the Internet to citizens of India who may not otherwise have access to it. Launched just last week, Google’s Internet Bus aims to educate Indian people about what the Internet is and how it can benefit them in multiple ways. To do that, the customized, Internet-enabled vehicle is bringing the online experience to where people live, visiting several towns and cities across India’s Tamil Nadu region with demonstrations of the Internet’s uses in education, information, communication and entertainment. Content is provided both in English and in Tamil to familiarize people with services including search, email, social networking, online maps and others. Since beginning in Chennai, the bus has already travelled to Vellore, Krishnagiri, Salem, Erode and Pollachi; on Saturday, it will arrive in Coimbatore. Twelve cities will follow before the effort wraps up in mid-March; in the meantime, photos, videos and updates are available on the project’s website. The Internet Bus initiative is part of Google’s overall strategy of “organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful,” the company says—its efforts have also included localizing and translating multiple Google applications. Prasad Ram, head of R&D for Google India, explains: “We are passionate about empowering users with information, and the Internet democratizes access to information. With this initiative we want to take the power of this medium to people who will really benefit from it. We believe that if we can get people to experience the Internet even briefly they will find the means to go back again.” And that, of course, is the ultimate goal. If people do go back again, it will bring benefits not only for them, but for Google too—and for the legions of advertisers dying to reach new markets. That sound you hear is the global online marketplace getting even bigger! (Related: Selling to rural IndiaHelping unskilled workers find employers.) Spotted by: Judy McRae



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