The search for the 'next billion' users also targets the first billion

Services for lands of slow connections and rotten roads now set global agendas

Google's efforts to find its “next billion” users has been revealed to also be an effort to build services for the first billion.

The Chocolate Factory's revealed this in a few ways of late. Last week it announced that it's taken a mobile-data-number-crunching app called “Datally” from the Philippines to the world.

The company's also just revealed, at the bottom of its announcement of Android Go, that addressing Indian users has become a way for its to address global users.

Google's announcement mentions that Indian Google Maps users were the first to gain access to “two-wheeler mode”, a navigation aid for motorcycle and scooters that “hows trip routes that use 'shortcuts' not accessible to cars and trucks”. India has the world's largest fleet of two-wheelers, so starting there makes sense, but Google's promised the service will make it to “more countries in the coming months.”

There's also news of an app called “Files Go” that was designed for Android Go devices, but has obvious applicability anywhere, because it de-dupes files, clears Android devices' caches, suggests files worthy of erasure and can even “delete old photos and memes from chat apps”.

That sound you hear? Parents across the world telling their kids to get Files Go, now, and stop nagging them for a new phone or memory card.

Google is not alone in taking products from developing nations to Europe and North America. The Register is also aware of Asian nations where the likes of WhatsApp have become ubiquitous, supplanting SMS and encouraging developers to adapt the app for tasks like customer service, ecommerce and even banking to address users whose main device is a smartphone and whose preference is to do almost everything online. Those services are migrating from East to West, too. ®

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