Search engine giant Google unveiled a new project that will give free access to its services to people in developing countries, the company announced today.
The project, called Google Free Zone (not to be confused with a Google-Free zone), will allow people in countries like the Philippines to use services like Google+, Gmail, etc. As long as people have signed up for a Google account, they can access these services under the g.co/freezone domain without incurring any data charges from wireless carriers. This means any link found through a Google search will be covered under the free zone plan — sort of like a walled garden, but the alternative for many of these people would be to simply never have access to the Internet.
“It’s aimed at the next billion users of the Internet, many of whom will be in emerging markets and encounter the Internet first on a mobile phone, without ever owning a PC,” Google Project Manager AbdelKarim Mardini told Reuters.
Google has already launched the Google Free Zone in the Philippines under a partnership with local carrier Globe, but the company expects to roll it out to other regions of the world in the near future.