That’s because the company is currently piloting such an app in Indonesia, as the eagle-eyed team at Android Police first spotted.
“Search Lite” — which TechCrunch understands is not the name of the
app, but it is certainly an accurate description of it — is essentially a
modified version of the Google search app that’s optimized for those
using poor quality connections, with limited mobile data allocations, or
in possession of a smartphone with little internal memory.
In that respect it’s similar to the YouTube Lite app that Google launched in India
last year, and other ‘lite’ apps from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and
others. India has been a core market for these data-friendly apps and
there are clues within the app that this Google app is headed to India
Beyond offering an easier way to search the web, the app connects to
other content including news, weather and Google’s Translate service.
There’s an option to navigate to external websites inside the app’s
dedicated browser, a move that would seemingly save on data, too.
Image via Android Police
Google declined to comment on the app specifically.
“We’re always experimenting with our products with the goal of
providing the most useful and optimal experience for our users. This is a
new experimental app to help improve the search experience for users in
Indonesia,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch.
Beyond individual apps, Google is putting serious focus on developing
services that are optimized for emerging markets, where it sees the
next billion internet users coming online. It is developing a lightweight version of Android — Android Go — to power smartphones, and has made strategic acquisitions in Southeast Asia and most recently India to build out engineering teams that are dedicated to emerging markets.