Google and Facebook battle for 2 billion potential users

Google and Facebook battle for 2 billion potential users
This is the Indonesian version of Facebook's service.
PHOTO: Nikkei Asian Review

JAKARTA - Google and Facebook have brought new services to emerging Asia, hoping to attract some of the 2 billion people there who have yet to use the Internet. Increasing the number of Net users is vital to the two US-based conquerors since ad revenue accounts for much of their sales.

A joint survey conducted by Facebook and US-based consultancy McKinsey & Company shows 4.4 billion people around the world do not use the Internet and that 60 per cent of these are in major Asian countries.

Google in May began offering a service in Indonesia that lets users quickly call up websites even in places where mobile phone reception is poor. The company hopes the service will appeal to people in rural areas where communications infrastructure is substandard.

The service targets smartphones running Google's Android operating system. When Google judges that the communication speed is slow, data intensive content such as videos, photos and logos are either omitted or displayed with reduced resolution.

The company says the service can reduce data usage by up to 80 per cent and display websites four times faster than without it. Currently, only a limited number of ads, including those provided by Google's AdSense, can be delivered this way. Ads of outside companies will be added later.

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