Every month, about four million more Indians get online. They include people like Manju, a 35-year-old seamstress in this city of ancient palaces, who got her first internet phone last week.
“It’s necessary for me to learn new things,” said Manju, who uses only one name. She was so thrilled to discover YouTube and other streaming video services that she quickly burned through her monthly data plan. Now her phone carrier, Reliance Jio, has relegated her to a trickle of low-speed data until next month, when her plan resets.
“It’s all finished,” she complained on Monday when a Google researcher came to visit to ask about her online habits.
Google, which missed out on the rise of the internet in China, is determined not to make the same mistake in India. It has marshaled some of its best developers, designers and researchers to figure out how to adapt or completely rethink products like YouTube to serve the needs of mobile internet users with smaller budgets but big aspirations.