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Google is testing a data-friendly version of its Search app

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Google might soon release a data-friendly version of its search app for mobile.

That’s because the company is currently piloting such an app in Indonesia, as the eagle-eyed team at Android Police first spotted.

“Search Lite” — which TechCrunch understands is not the name of the app, but it is certainly an accurate description of it — is essentially a modified version of the Google search app that’s optimized for those using poor quality connections, with limited mobile data allocations, or in possession of a smartphone with little internal memory.

In that respect it’s similar to the YouTube Lite app that Google launched in India last year, and other ‘lite’ apps from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others. India has been a core market for these data-friendly apps and there are clues within the app that this Google app is headed to India soon.

Beyond offering an easier way to search the web, the app connects to other content including news, weather and Google’s Translate service. There’s an option to navigate to external websites inside the app’s dedicated browser, a move that would seemingly save on data, too.

Image via Android Police

Google declined to comment on the app specifically.

“We’re always experimenting with our products with the goal of providing the most useful and optimal experience for our users. This is a new experimental app to help improve the search experience for users in Indonesia,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch.

Beyond individual apps, Google is putting serious focus on developing services that are optimized for emerging markets, where it sees the next billion internet users coming online. It is developing a lightweight version of Android — Android Go — to power smartphones, and has made strategic acquisitions in Southeast Asia and most recently India to build out engineering teams that are dedicated to emerging markets.


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