Google, a few weeks ago, further solidified its ambitions in the social network category by extending its hyperlocal, crowdsourced question-and-answer app experiment Neighbourly from the global beta version rolled out in Mumbai in May this year to a rollout that now spans five more Indian cities that include Ahmedabad, Coimbatore, Mysore, Vizag, and Kota. The app is a lot like Quora in its basic functionality. A city’s self-styled expert on topics like ‘best restaurants to eat in’ or ‘safest parks to take a walk in’ can share or answer questions posed by other residents, especially newer ones looking to find a safe and comfortable foothold in a new environment. In the latest version of the app, users can ask questions using an enhanced voice input that accommodates eight Indian languages with more being added in the near future. Before we examine the originality of the enterprise, it’s probably a good idea to ask: “Why launch in India?” The most obvious answer points to Indian smartphone usage, currently not only gargantuan with over 340 million users, but also destined to scale to even more eye-popping heights with a staggering 1 billion users yet to get devices and connect to the internet. Where most of the world in the West or even recent El Dorados like China have reached saturation, the opportunity to mine India’s mountain of data and monetise it is unprecedented and lip smacking to both Indian and foreign outfits like Google. Within this narrative is India’s urbanization. It has… [Read full story]
ZDNet is a business technology news website published by CBS Interactive, along with TechRepublic. The brand was founded on April 1, 1991, as a general interest technology portal from Ziff Davis and evolved into an enterprise IT-focused online publication owned by CNET Networks.