Is Google Speeding Up in Asia?

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Over the next three years, 500 million Internet users from emerging markets are projected to come online; for comparison, there will be only 15 million from the United States. In 2011, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) began construction on three data centers across Asia, scheduled to be completed later this year, that will boost connectivity speeds by up to 30 percent, enabling quicker access to and potentially increased adoption of Google’s staple services like search, Gmail, and Youtube.

The company’s data center in Singapore is expected to be finished in the first half of 2013, while its Taiwan facility will be done in the later half of the year. However, as of yet, Google has not given a timeline for the completion of the center in Hong Kong. In addition to the three new Asian centers, on which Google has spent more than $300 million, the company has seven data centers in the United States, and one in each Finland, Belgium and Ireland.

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In particular, the new centers will greatly increase Internet speeds in India, which has the 112th fastest Internet speed in the world, according to a report from the web-based content delivery firm Akamai Technologies. More importantly, at least for Google, the new centers will give the company far better access to the country’s 100 million users. Even though Google has a 95 percent share of the Internet search market, some of its services, such as YouTube and the social networking service Google Hangout, cannot be accessed at optimal speeds.

“Internet connectivity speed in India is not very high,” said the company’s head of India Products, Lalitesh Katragadda, to The Economic Times. “These data centres will be crucial to this market due to its proximity.”

Google’s dominant share of the search market in India, Indonesia, and other major markets contrasts with its position in Japan and South Korea, where it trails local providers, and China, where the company shut down its services.

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