(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – While accessing Google services in the U.S. and other countries might seem relatively easy, in other areas of the world, such connectivity can be hard to come by.
That’s why the tech giant recently unveiled Free Zone, a service primarily geared towards helping those in third world countries access services such as the company’s search, social network and email services.
Provided through mobile phones, the offering is first being launched in the Philippines and is free of data charges and data plans.
Feature phones, not smartphones, are the primary mobile devices used in areas including Sub-Saharan African and other less wealthy global locations.
Free Zone is optimized for use with basic mobile devices, although it will work on smartphones as well.
“It’s aimed at the next billion users of the Internet, many of whom will be in emerging markets and encounter the Internet first on a mobile phone, without ever owning a PC,” noted Google product manager AbdelKarim Mardini in a Reuters report.
Basic search functionality is provided. Users can also access the sites appearing in search for free. However, upon further clicks, the service will prompt users with a message that a cost could incur.