Google recognizes the significance of India in its market, with 97% of India’s 600 million smartphones utilizing the Android operating system. This is a higher adoption rate than in Europe, where only 75% of 550 million smartphones run on Android.
To cater to the Indian market, Google recently announced on January 25th that Indian smartphone manufacturers can license selected applications for pre-installation on their devices. Additionally, users now have the option to set their preferred search engine as the default one, a significant shift from Google being the unchanging default search engine on all Android smartphones.
Google’s recent decisions stem from the Indian Supreme Court’s statement, which declared the tech giant guilty of market abuse. The ruling from the highest authority in the country compelled Google to make these changes, drastically altering the company’s marketing strategies in India, a market with tremendous growth potential. Get insights on how these changes will impact Google’s operations in the Indian market.
Some of the Major Changes of Google in India
Google has taken strides to enhance its presence in the vibrant market of India. The company has made the following noteworthy changes to its Android operating system in the country:
- Original Equipment Manufacturers(OEM) can now license individual Google apps for pre-installation on their smartphones.
- New users will be given the option to select their preferred default search engine upon setting up their devices.
- Android compatibility requirements have been modified to accommodate non-compatible or forked variants by Google partners.
- In-app digital content can now be purchased through the user’s choice of billing system, including the option to use an alternative to Google Play’s billing.
- The process of sideloading applications onto Android devices has been revised to reduce security risks, including those downloaded directly from developer websites.
- Google has expanded its online help resources to include information on Google Play Services and the application of their service fees.
These changes reflect Google’s commitment to providing the best possible experience for Android users in India.
Google also said in its blog post that putting all of these changes into place would be hard for the company because Google has a very large ecosystem of its own. It also said that the company would need a lot of help from OEMs and developers working together in order to make these changes.
In terms of market positioning and strategies, the Indian government has been very strict with Google. Back in October, Google was fined $161 million (INR Rs. 1337.76 crores) for making device makers follow rules about pre-installing apps and using Google as the only search engine. Google had hoped to stop the Competition Commission of India (CCI) from putting these rules into place by pointing out that it would have to change its contracts with more than 1100 device makers across the country.
The Supreme Court of India did not cooperate with Google in any way.