On Tuesday, Google announced its Made for India programme in Bengaluru, under which it will highlight apps that are optimised for Indian network conditions, devices, and content. At the event, the company also talked about the importance of creating apps for India, highlighting that developers should focus on India, instead of trying to build for a global audience.
Speaking at the event, Purnima Kochikar, Director, Business Development, Games and Applications at Google Play pointed out that the app installs in India has been growing at 150 percent year on year, and the consumer spend on apps has grown by 3x.
"We've also taken away a lot of friction, and today Indian users have the option of paying via carrier billing [and] through cash by buying gift cards, or with wallets," says Kochikar.
Internet adoption is not slowing down
"When I came to Google India six years ago, we had 100 million users; now, we have 400 million, and of that around 300 million are on smartphones,” says Rajan Anandan, VP South East Asia and India at Google. "But that wasn't the only change. In the last one year thanks to developments in the telecom space, we've seen another big shift."
"India had a very large user base that spent very little time on the Internet, largely on 2G connections, but recently I read a report that says that the typical user now consumes 2GB of data every month," he adds.
However, the next 300 million users in India will not be coming form the big cities anymore, and this is a large audience which is not being addressed at all, Anandan believes.
"The next 300 million are very different. None of them are proficient in English, or know how a smartphone works, or apps," he explains. "Non-English search results are growing 10 times faster than in English, and content consumption for non-English media is growing 5 times faster."
The new audience will be very different
Although smartphones are getting more affordable, this involves compromises in terms of processing power, and Anandan warned developers that they're going to have to prepare to see uninstall rates go up a lot.
"The users who will come onboard in millions are trying to make the basic ends meet," says Anandan. "Things like education, healthcare, public transport. The new users won't be installing Ola and Uber, but [they will install] RailYatri."
He added that although data is becoming cheaper than ever, it's still going to be expensive for most of these new users. For this reason, developers will have to focus on building apps that use as little data as possible.
"There are very few companies that are thinking truly local," adds Anandan. "Everybody here [referring to the audience of developers at Google's event] is reading TechCruch, but most of India doesn't need what TechCrunch writes about."
With its Made in India program, Google wants to encourage developers here to address these questions. Kunal Soni, Head of Business Development at Google Play pointed out that developers have to think about "connectivity, and device compatibility, data cost, battery usage, content, and commerce”.
In that sense, Google’s pitch to developers isn’t that different from what Apple has been telling app makers in the country - think local.