Google has introduced a finalised deal to help increase usage of its Google+ in India. Users of the social network will now be able to log into the service for free through Wi-Fi provided by O-Zone Networks, according to Business Standard.
The offer, which will run for an initial three months, will allow unlimited usage of Google+ and 10 minutes of free access to YouTube per week, but any other websites can only be accessed by paying for minutes.
O-Zone currently has 5,000 Wi-Fi access points across India, which includes coverage at selects outlets of Café Coffee Day, McDonalds, Café Oz, Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Costa Coffee, Subway and OM Bookshop, where the free access can be enjoyed.
Google, is of course, using the deal to promote its services in the country but O-Zone CEO Sanjeev Sarin believes that the initiative will help promote the use of Wi-Fi, which he believes provides a viable alternative to 3G in the country:
This association between Google India and O-Zone Networks reinforces the fact that people are now realising the power of Wi-Fi [which] will grow parallel with 3G and 4G. It has better speed in enclosed networks than 3G. Moreover, as people start using video applications, telcos, too, will prefer to shift traffic to Wi-Fi networks.
O-Zone remains a niche provider, however Sarin reveals that the company has seen registrations rise 30 percent over recent months. It is targeting a goal of reaching 50,000 hotspots nationwide by 2013, which would make it the country’s largest Wi-Fi provider.
Internet penetration is less than 10 percent in India, with mobile seen as a key enabler of Web access in the country. Google itself is seeing huge success on mobile in India where it claims that 40 percent of its searches and 67 percent of its e-commerce comes from users on devices.
Google has not released Google+ data broken down by country yet, so user numbers reported for India has varied due to the inaccuracies of measuring it. comScore suggested that India was the second biggest user behind the US last July, but just two months later, Experian Hitwise data showed that Singapore had beaten it into second place in Asia.
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