Looks like Google is not leaving any stone unturned when it comes to promoting its social network offering Google+, or it’s getting desperate for usage: after tightly integrating social profiles and posts on the social network into search, Google has now announced a three month deal with Indian WiFi service provider O-Zone Networks to offer free and unlimited access to Google+ when they connect to O-Zone’s WiFi hotspots across the country. In addition to this, they will also be granted access to YouTube to watch ‘exclusive movie clips’ and promotions (does this imply selected video clips?) for 10 minutes each week at no charge.
Usually, users require a subscription through a prepaid card or through their mobile phone /broadband accounts, since O-Zone has partnerships with Aircel and Airtel. As of April 2011, O-Zone Networks claimed to have about 5,000 hotspots across the country, out of which 3,000 were operational. It has location partnerships with Cafe Coffee Day, DLF, Fortis, Hard Rock Cafe, and Om Book Shop, among others.
Companies such as Aircel rolling out Wifi services with great enthusiasm, even supporting it initially with a TV ad campaign. But after a while, there was no buzz around the service, and no information on the number of consumers who actually use the service. O-Zone had announced ambitious plans for rolling out their services, including signing an MoU with Alcatel Lucent to set-up 20,000 WiFi hotspots by the end of 2012. But at the end, it all boils down to how many users are willing to pay for WiFi access. We feel that at least initially, companies should offer free ad-supported WiFi access to push adoption. We’ve mostly seen O-Zone’s access points at Cafe Coffee Days, but not tried them; on Aircel’s Wifi services, we got decent speeds of around 512Kbps.
Why did Google choose Wifi over Mobile Internet?
While Google’s claim is that they wanted to encourage users to use Google+ and YouTube on their mobile devices, we wonder why they haven’t tied up with a telecom operator for real portability, offering free data while using the service through mobile internet, similar to Facebook. The mobile internet via 3G/Edge/CDMA has more reach compared to Wifi hotspots in India, but perhaps it was down to the cost of access – especially cost of accessing video content on YouTube that the company might have had to incur.
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– O-Zone Signs MoU With Alcatel Lucent To Expand WiFi Hot Spots
– Why Aircel’s Audacious WiFi Rollout Just Might Work