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Google rolls out Neighbourly, a new app just for India

Google is rolling out a new app just for India.Neighbourly is a local social network that aims to ans...

Posted: Nov 21, 2018 12:55 PM
Updated: Nov 21, 2018 12:55 PM

Google is rolling out a new app just for India.

Neighbourly is a local social network that aims to answer questions people often have about their immediate surroundings, such as where to find the best street food or a reliable car repair shop. The app will source its answers from other users, or "neighbours."

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It has just been made available in India's capital, New Delhi, and its tech hub, Bangalore. India's biggest cities, including Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata, will be added over the next few weeks, Google (GOOGL) said in a blog post Wednesday.

"We know that most of life happens within 1 [kilometer, 0.6 miles] from home or work and that many information needs are local," Neighbourly's engineering manager Arnold Binas said in the blog post. "We've also found that when finding local information, people prefer to ask or discuss with another person — whether that's a friend, family member, or neighbour."

Google began testing the app in Mumbai in May, before expanding the trial to six other cities in the last few months. Neighbourly has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times since June, and Google said half a million people have joined a waiting list in cities where it isn't yet available.

Neighbourly works in English and eight Indian languages. It's the tech giant's latest effort to tap into India's vast and fast-growing internet. There are just over 500 million people online in India, leaving nearly 900 million yet to get connected.

Google has chosen India to launch several services and features in recent years, including an offline version of its video platform YouTube. Earlier this year, it began allowing Indian users to get bank loans through its digital payments app.

For now, Neighbourly (spelled with a "u" the way Indians spell it), is not just "India-first," it's "India only."

"We are currently focused on expanding the app in India, and don't have any immediate plans to roll this out to other markets," a Google India spokesperson said.

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