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谷歌收购印度最受欢迎火车追踪应用Where is my Train

据悉,谷歌已经收购了印度交通应用Where is my Train。这笔交易也将加强其对印度市场的投资力度。

顾名思义,该款声称拥有1000万注册用户的应用,可以帮助通勤者跟踪火车的到达和出发,并提供购票服务。据报道,印度预计每天在全国各地运营约1.4万车次的火车,因此,该应用所面对的业务规模相当庞大。该应用目前支持Android平台,可离线使用,并支持八种语言。它的竞争对手包括RailYatri和iXigo。

据印度《经济时报》报道,这笔交易的规模在3000万至4000万美元之间,不过交易双方暂未透露正式价格。该网站在8月份首次报道谷歌对该公司的收购意向,当时报道的收购者还包括中国智能手机制造商小米。谷歌发言人向外媒证实了这笔交易,但拒绝透露具体价格。

开发这一火车应用的公司Sigmoid Labs,由四位前TiVo高管于2013年所创立。《经济时报》报道称,该公司拥有约10名员工。目前尚不清楚Sigmoid Labs迄今的融资总额。

该公司今天早些时候在其网站上告知了客户有关收购的消息。

“我们认为没有更好的地方可以帮助我们实现使命了。我们很高兴加入谷歌,帮助更多人享受到科技和信息,”其创始人写道。

谷歌表示,Where is my Train团队将继续“开发现有产品”。所以看起来,该应用应该不会被立即关闭。

该服务的重要用户群表明,谷歌可能希望开发和扩展其范围,以触及其他领域。例如,打车应用已经进入了相邻的领域,包括娱乐、支付和外卖,以将其打造成日常应用。

当然,这只是目前的猜想,不过我们也有理由认为,谷歌可以将其融入到其他应用中,包括谷歌地图。

该交易由谷歌的“下一个十亿用户”部门所负责,该部门正在开发产品和服务,以帮助提高新兴市场的互联网使用率。到目前为止,谷歌一直在着重专注印度市场,比如,谷歌开发了数据友好型“精简”版本的YouTube;推出了800多万人使用的印度铁路网络公共WiFi等计划。

随着谷歌对印度市场投资力度的加大,它正在寻找为印度消费者提供信息和公共服务的应用。谷歌去年推出了一款按需应用和一项移动支付服务,今年它发布了一项社区问答服务。所以,Where is my Train交易的确符合谷歌的这一策略,它也很有可能成为谷歌面向消费者的印度产品线的核心部分。

这笔交易也是迄今为止美国科技公司在印度市场做出的最重要的交易之一。Facebook、Twitter、谷歌甚至雅虎都已经进行了一系列收购,并建立团队和人才储备。

Google  is increasing its efforts in India after it snapped up the team behind popular transportation app “Where is my Train.”

The app claims 10 million registered users and, as the name suggests, it helps commuters track arrivals and departures as well as buying seats. That’s no small job, given that India is estimated to operate some 14,000 trains on a daily basis across the country. The app is for Android, it works offline or with poor connectivity and supports eight languages. It is rivaled by VC-backed companies like RailYatri and iXigo.

There’s no official price for the deal, although India’s Economic Times is reporting that it is in the region of $30-$40 million. The site reported on Google’s interest back in August, when it wrote that other suitors included Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi. A Google spokesperson confirmed the deal to TechCrunch, but declined to provide a price.

Sigmoid Labs, the company that develops the train app, was founded by four former TiVo executives in 2013. Economic Times reports that it has around 10 staff. It is unclear how much money it has raised to date.

The company told customers news of the acquisition on its website earlier today.

“We can think of no better place to help us achieve our mission, and we’re excited to join Google to help bring technology and information into more people’s hands,” its founders wrote.

Google said that the Where is my Train team would “continue to build on the current offering,” so it seems that the app won’t be shuttered immediately, at least.

The service’s significant user base would suggest that Google might look to develop and expand its scope to perhaps touch on other areas. Ride-hailing apps, for example, have moved into adjacent spaces, including entertainment, payments and food delivery, to take advantage of their position as daily apps.

That’s all conjecture at this point. But it also stands to reason that Google could fold it into other apps, including Google Maps, although that certainly isn’t the plan at this point.

The deal falls under Google’s “Next Billion User” division, which is developing products and services to help increase internet adoption in emerging markets. To date that has focused strongly on India, where Google has developed data-friendly “lite” versions of popular apps like YouTube, and initiatives like public Wi-Fi for India’s rail network that’s used by more than eight million people.

That scope has also covered services, with Google looking at apps that provide information and utility to Indian consumers. Google launched an on-demand app and a mobile payment service last year, and this year it released a neighborhood Q&A service. The Where is my Train deal certainly fits that strategy, and you’d imagine it’ll become a core part of Google’s consumer-facing product line in India.

The deal is also one of the most significant to date for a U.S.-based tech firm in India. Facebook, Twitter, Google and even Yahoo  have made acquisitions to build teams or acquire talent, but Where is my Train seems significantly more strategic as a product.

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