The latest company to seek a fortune in India's rural markets is Google. It is developing with local vendors a simpler search engine, as well as content tailored to the needs of rural users.
The customised content for rural customers would include weather updates, crop patterns and other local data.
"How to make the search engine simpler and uncomplicated is a big challenge, but we will have an answer soon," Google Vice-president (Asia Pacific & Latin America) Sukhinder Singh Cassidy told Business Standard.
A steadily growing number of companies in sectors like FMCG, telecom and retail are investing in the rural market owing to its growing prosperity. Google is the first global Internet giant to seek a pie of this market.
Google is also betting heavily on the mobile platform (as PC penetration is low) and plans to introduce services like Google Talk (instant chat application), and Google Maps through tie-ups with Indian mobile operators.
Following the success of Orkut, a popular social networking site, in India, Google plans to introduce it in other Indian languages online and it might integrate it with its instant messaging service, Google Talk. Further, Google is planning to launch in India a mobile version of Orkut, which will allow users to post messages to their friends online through SMS.
Google will also introduce its online advertising model, called AdWords, on the mobile platform. The advertising platform allows companies to exploit the field of mobile marketing.
Google is further looking at licensing partnerships with Indian publishers, broadcasting companies and those that own Bollywood content that could be made available on its sites.