Over the last few years, Google has turned to developing markets in an effort to increase market share of its products, such as Chrome for Android. In several respects, saturation has mostly been reached in Western markets, but the majority of the world still isn’t online. Often termed as “the next billion users” (NBU), developing markets have showed signs of skipping the PC era and jumping directly to the mobile era. In India, this exponential growth in the number of first-time Internet users has been achieved with the help of development in 4G LTE infrastructure, the rise of Jio, and other factors.
However, connectivity still remains an issue in many areas. This is why Google started building offline capabilities in Google Chrome for Android. The company has promoted features such as automatic data saver. Now, it’s taking things one step beyond with the announcement that Chrome for Android users in India along with more than 100 countries including Indonesia, Nigeria, and Brazil, will be able to browse the web even without a constant Internet connection.
How does this work? Google states that when users are connected to free, unmetered Wi-Fi, Google Chrome will automatically download “relevant articles” based on “what content is most popular in [their] location.” If users are signed into Chrome, they will get articles that are “relevant” to them based on their browsing history. The downloaded content will be available alongside users’ downloaded content, and it will thus be available without an Internet connection.
Google hasn’t detailed what sort of “relevant articles” will be automatically downloaded on the basis of most popular content in a particular location. The company needs to be careful here, as it is possible that Chrome will automatically download articles that the user doesn’t want or need. Unfortunately, in the latest update to Chrome for Android, Google has also removed the option to disable suggested articles in the homepage of the app, which means that suggested articles will always be shown even when they aren’t relevant in many cases.
Users can get the feature by updating to the latest version of Chrome for Android in the Play Store.