Over the years, Google has expanded the reach of its digital assistant service to include people who own internet-enabled feature phones. Now the search giant is bringing the service to users who don’t have access to any internet at all.
At an event in New Delhi on Thursday, the company announced a 24×7 telephone line that anyone on Vodafone-Idea telecom network could dial to have their questions answered.
Users will be able to dial 000-800-9191-000 and they won’t be charged for the call or the service. Manuel Bronstein, a VP at Google, said the company is hoping to reach hundreds of millions of users in India who currently don’t have access to smartphones or internet.
Even as there are more than 500 million users with access to internet and about 450 million with smartphones in India, more than half of the nation’s 1.3 billion people remain unconnected.
India has emerged as one of the last great growth markets for Silicon Valley companies that are looking to find their next billion users worldwide.