SmartPlanet: India Pioneering Web Search Via Text Message —

Advanced Cyber/IO

smartplanet logoIndia has 900 million mobile users, but only 8 percent of those enjoy mobile Internet access. Thanks to four college drop-outs, the other 92 percent can now search the Web, too–by text. Read on.

In India, browse the web through texts

By | May 20, 2013

DELHI — In 2009, four students dropped out of an engineering college in a small town in southern India to pursue their dream. They wanted to channel the vast sea of knowledge floating on the Internet through text messages to millions of people who don’t have access to the web.

Now their creation, called SMS Gyan (gyan means knowledge), a search engine available on mobile phones, has 120 million users in India, the Middle East and Africa submitting over five million queries every day. And their company Innoz Technologies has expanded to 45 employees, and it earned $2.5 million worth of revenue last year.

The company’s founders say that Innoz is set to become the world’s largest offline search engine in 2015, with projections of 10 million monthly unique users and more than 55 million searches per day.

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Air Tel made the service available to its users in India (it has total of 230 million in 19 countries) who can text questions to 55444 for one rupee, or two cents.

Mohammed Hisamuddin, 26, another co-founder, said that Innoz had designed a special algorithm that crawls their Internet partner sites like Wikipedia and Zomato for information, and then optimizes the most relevant bits into a text-response of 480-characters to make it user friendly.

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