9 December, 2009 – Having travelled more than 10,000 kilometers across 4 states of India during the last 10 months, Google Internet Bus continues to add more miles and smiles as it enters the state of Kerala – God’s own country. The Internet Bus – a custom designed mobile bus aimed to provide an online experience to the people of Kerala will be travelling through 8 towns – Kochi, Alappuzha, Kollam, Trivandrum, Thirssur, Palakkad, Kozhikode and Thalasery – in the next 25 days.
The Google Internet Bus journey which started from Tamil Nadu in February 2009 has so far touched the lives of over 400,000 Indians across states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh helping them to understand how they can use internet to do everyday things more easily. The bus left behind some interesting anecdotes each time it visited a city: For instance a businessman in Ujjain was excited to know how easily he could keep track of his bank account by using online banking. A businessman in Krishnagiri (Tamil Nadu) was amazed to see how he could easily book the train tickets online. A cybercafé owner in Vijaywada (Andhra Pradesh) was thrilled to use products like Google Maps and Google search in local languages and was keen to educate his customers about use of these products.
With a focus on four themes – information, communication, entertainment and education, the Internet Bus will showcase informative content in both English and Malayalam to provide the users with an understanding of how the Internet can be used for all of these needs. In addition to the basic familiarization on using services like search, email, social networking, online maps and others the bus will also showcase how the Internet services can be used by mobile phones owners to make their everyday life simple.
Commenting on the successful run of Google Internet Bus project, Dr. Prasad Ram, Head R&D, Google India said, "2009 has been a memorable journey for Google through the Internet Bus. We have learnt a lot about the needs and requirements of the emerging users of the internet in India. It has been exciting to see people from different walks of life visit the bus and learn what the internet can do for them."
"We are committed to bring the real benefit of Internet services by localizing our global products for the users in India and making it accessible even on mobile phones. We hope the Internet Bus will be able to extend the awareness of these local innovations and enable the common man to utilize the power of knowledge and information for economic prosperity in the state.," adds Dr. Ram.
In Kerala, Google has joined hands with NIIT™, who would give a free hour of hands-on internet training to the visitors of the Internet Bus. This has been designed to sustain the interest among the users about the internet and also to increase the engagement levels of people.
Users across India will be able to follow the bus through its journey, see pictures and videos and join online communities by simply visiting http://www.google.co.in/internetbus.
In India, Google has been making significant investments to make the Internet more relevant and accessible to the Indian user. Search has become more localized with useful information like business listings, railways and flight status, cricket scores, movie reviews and more. Google has also launched products like Google SMS Search™, SMS Channels, Google Local Search™, and Google Map Maker™, and has localized many popular Google applications. It is offering transliteration in 5 Indian languages, Google News™ in 4 Indian languages, machine translation for English-to-Hindi (bidirectional), and soft keyboards for a vast majority of Indian languages.
Access to information over mobile devices has become easier with mobile maps, mobile search, voice search and mobile orkut™. Google has also created platforms like the Be NetSmart campaign aimed at students, parents and teachers to educate them on Internet safety.