The technology giant has bought the Bengaluru, India-based transit tracking app for a reported US$30 million to US$40 million. Where is My Train has more than 10 million downloads in India, and also allows users to buy tickets. (Economic Times)
Talking point: The acquisition fits with Google’s hyper-local strategy for the Indian market, launched in 2016. Where is My Train works without an internet connection, just like YouTube Go and Files Go, the low- or no-data versions of its flagship products that Google first introduced in India. The company also provides free Wi-Fi to eight million monthly users at 400 railway stations around the country. Buying an already-popular app is one more way for Google to hold off Facebook, which has been growing its share of the Indian online advertising market. The subcontinent is a proxy battleground for the two firms—Google announced the railway station Wi-Fi in September 2015 after Facebook’s FreeBasics program faced considerable backlash for limiting which websites users could access.