Google today said it has partnered Andhra Pradesh State FiberNet Ltd (APSFNL) to bring Google Station to over 12,000 villages, a move that will provide Internet access to about 10 million people.
The tech giant has also rebranded its ‘Tez’ as ‘Google Pay’ as part of its efforts to take the digital payments app to more online and retail merchants across the country.
“Building for India has helped Google build for everyone all around the world… Our partnership with RailTel is an example where millions of people are accessing Internet from hundreds of railway stations in India.
“We have also taken Google Station to other countries like Indonesia, Nigeria, Thailand and Mexico,” Google General Manager (Next Billion Users initiative and Payments) Caesar Sengupta said.
Previously, Google had partnered RailTel to offer Wi-Fi accessacross 400 railway stations in the country.
“We have partnered APSFNL. We expect to start rolling out services by the end of the year with cities like Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam, to connect gram panchayats, primary health care centres and other public places,” he said.
Talking about payments, Sengupta said Tez – which was built for the Indian market – has seen strong traction with 22 million people using the platform every month.
Already, 750 million transactions have been made with USD 30 billion in annual run rate of transaction value, he added.
“Many governments (globally) have taken note and have asked us to collaborate. Keeping that in mind, we are compiling our payments under Google Pay. Everything with Tez remains the same,” he noted.
Sengupta said the company is also adding more merchants — online and offline — onto its platform.
Google is working with big retailers and payments technology companies like Pine Labs to help merchants accept digital payments, he added.
The tech giant is also collaborating with lenders like Federal Bank, HDFC Bank and others to offer pre-approved loans on the Google Pay platform, a move it believes will accelerate efforts of financial inclusion.