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Google launches the Android Go edition for the 400 million Internet users in India

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Google has released Android Oreo (Go Edition), which is part of the largest version of Android 8.1. The new version of Android is optimized for devices with less than 1GB of memory and markets that have lower bandwidth or unreliable connections.

While the update of the OS is comprehensive, the target market specifically is India. Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted that "India now has more than 400 million netizens" by announcing the release of Oreo's Go edition:

According to Google, the Go experience has three components: improved data management, a range of new applications using less memory and a version of Google Play that promotes apps optimized for low-end phones.

Among the newer, lower-density applications, Google Go, a search tool (and more) specifically designed for India:

Google Go offers three special features to meet the needs of novice users on the Internet. First, typing on a small device can be slow and tedious, and people may not know what to look for online. The Google Go UI allows them to better express themselves, explore new ideas, find things to share and guide them through the web. Secondly, Google Go is lightweight on storage and data and very much on uneven connections. It is less than 5 MB to download and search results in Google Go are optimized to save up to 40% of data. Third, it is very easy to change and see the answers in another language – for example, between Hindi and English.

These entry-level phones whose Go edition is optimized are popular in developing markets.

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As others have pointed out, Google "missed the Chinese market" because of its disputes with the government over censorship research. And while the Android operating system is dominant, it has been forked, in some cases, beyond recognition.

Google sees India and other developing markets as the source of its "next billion users." Android Go is designed to help the company go there.

About the author

Greg Sterling is a contributing editor to Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about the link between digital media and consumer behavior in the real world. He is also vice president of strategy and ideas for the local research association. Follow him on Twitter or find him on Google+.