Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Google touches heartstrings in pre-emptive strike at Apple in India

November 19, 2013: 12:46 PM ET

Why did Google make a 3:30 min. promo for search in a country where it has a 97% share?

FORTUNE -- If you haven't already seen the attached YouTube video -- viewed by 4 million since it was posted last week -- get out your handkerchiefs.

I tear up every time I watch it, but then I'm a sucker for reunion scenes.

When you're done, you might ponder the question posed in the subhead -- and in a smart piece posted Monday by Himanshu Gupta (@HalfRebel on Twitter).

The concept of "search" is changing, he writes. For millions of new users, their first experience of the Web is not through a PC but through a smartphone, where it often takes fewer keystrokes to find what you are looking for via an app than via Google (GOOG) search. Says Gupta:

"So, whereas earlier a search for Restaurant for an evening-out with friends might have started with 'Restaurant in South Delhi serving Chinese food' on desktop browser, today a user is more likely to do it via Zomato app (a Yelp like service in India) while being on the move. Similarly, a query for 'buy Samsung Galaxy Note 3' might have been easier to type on a desktop browser but on a touch smartphone, it's much more difficult to type and thus a user would prefer to open an Amazon or Flipkart mobile app and reach to Galaxy Note 3 via just 3-4 taps on small mobile screen (Home->Mobiles->Samsung->Note 3) since the experience is much more visual and faster."

Android, he writes, is just starting to take off in India, where it has to worry about competition from Apple (AAPL) in a way Google search never did.

"In this new world, Google is trying to in-build as many services as part of its search engine where Google gives you the best contextual information on your home screen based on your location, time of day and previous history information that it has on you using Google Search, Gmail, Youtube, Chrome, Google+ and Google Maps. It's all part of a product called 'Google Now' which Google is integrating deep into Android and is part of Google's iOS search app."

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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