Amazon to take on Google with mobile browser ‘Internet’

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on April 18, 2018

Amazon logo   -  AP

Online retail giant Amazon has launched an Android-based mobile browser in India with limited availability in an apparent bid to take on Google in the Internet game.

The new product ‘Internet’ is a 2MB browser that currently works only on limited Android devices. On Android Playstore, the app had only 100+ downloads at the time of writing this article, which indicates that Amazon is still testing it with limited number of users.

Bandwidth savings

Confirming the development, an Amazon spokesperson said “Android web browser app, developed by Amazon Silk Team, is designed for internet users in emerging markets. Specifically, it is a lightweight, webview-based mobile browser, offering increased bandwidth savings, a small application size and reduced page load times.”

Amazon already has a browser called Silk that was launched for Kindle Fire and Fire phone and also works on Amazon Fire stick to enable web browsing while watching TV.

Launching another Android browser for the Indian market indicates that Amazon could be looking at targeting users beyond its own ecosystem of customers and gather more data about non-Amazon customers.

A typical browser collects a lot of information about a user that could be helpful to any advertising-led enterprise. Data such as what device the user is using can indicate the users’ buying power, his browser trends can indicate his interests and his web searches can tell you exactly what kind of products that the person is looking to buy, which could be very useful for a brand like Amazon that sells millions of products.

“I’ll be worried about downloading the app because Amazon has a thriving advertising business with crawlers built in. This browser will only help them gather more data from non-Amazon customers and help them target them accordingly,” said Sanchit Gogia, CEO at Greyhound Research.

In Google Playstore, the description of the new ‘Internet’ app already shows that it contains ads.

“Indian market doesn’t need a new browser especially when Facebook etc., are facing heat over data collection. At this time, launching an app whose value proposition is anything but data collection could be the worst move ever,” Gogia said.

However, other market watchers said that with more than 50 per cent of Indian population yet to experience Internet on their phones, Amazon could have a chance to break into a market currently dominated by Google and UC Web browser.

Published on April 18, 2018

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