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In a bid to bolster its presence in India, search engine giant Google has stealthily launched its web domain registrar service in the country. Dubbed as Google Domains, the service, which will compete with the likes of GoDaddy, Hostgator, Bluehost, Namecheap and BigRock, has not been announced publicly yet.

Currently available in beta phase, Google Domains sports a simple interface that is easy to use. The domain registrar service assists customers in purchasing domains and even setting them up.

At the time of registration, a customer is given a list of options, including the choice to hide the details they are about to submit to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. For the uninitiated, ICANN is a non-profit organisation that handles the maintenance of databases related to namespaces of the Internet.

Once the purchase has been made, the Google Domains service guides users through the process of setting up the domain, including configuration of DNS.

Unlike other domain registrars that offer discounts and freebies for every purchase, Google is currently not providing any incentive or deals to customers. Some domain registrars even offer custom email addresses at no charge. Google, however, requires customers to purchase customised email addresses by signing up for its paid software service, GSuite.

Furthermore, the pricing of the domain registrar service is slightly higher than what most competitors are offering. At present, a .com domain on Google Domains is priced at $13.2 (INR 860), while a .co.in domain is available for $12.1 (INR 790) per year. Compared to that, GoDaddy and BigRock often offer .com domains for a discounted price as low as $1.5 (INR 99).

From Free WiFi To A Site For Startups: Google Is Doubling Down To Capture Indian Market

Google has been especially bullish on its growth in the Indian market. In the last few months, the tech company has deployed several services for strengthening its presence in the country. In the third week of September,  the Internet giant Google announced the launch of a dedicated site called Startup With Google, which served as a one-stop destination for all kinds of resources that startups and founders would require while setting up.

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Aimed at making the process of starting up easier and more efficient, the service offers free access to an array of Google’s own products, services as well as initiatives, including Analytics, Android Studio, mobile and web app development service Firebase, and Cloud Platform, among others.

Just a day prior to that, Google’s UPI enabled mobile payments app, Tez, made its debut in India. With the new app, Indian users can link up their phones to their bank accounts to pay for goods securely in physical stores and online as well as allow person-to-person money transfers.

Around the same time, the California-headquartered company partnered with cab aggregator Ola, allowing long-distance commuters to discover Ola’s Outstation category cabs on Google Maps. As per the partnership, commuters travelling between cities are now able to discover Ola Outstation for intercity travel on Google Maps for mobile.

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In August, the company announced the upcoming launch of Google Home and Google Feed. Offering a customised content feed, the technologies will reportedly be available in 20 Indian languages. In the same month, Google made its first Indian acquisition with Bengaluru-based AI startup Halli Labs. At the time, it was reported that the acquisition would allow the tech Goliath to utilise Halli Labs’ advanced AI and ML (Machine Learning) technologies for upgrading older domains and platforms for better performance.

In July 2017, the tech giant held talks with NPCI to integrate its mobile payment service, Android Pay, with UPI. A month before that, Google launched another initiative geared towards bringing the Indian population within the digital cloud. As part of the WiFi offering, in partnership with Railtel and Tata Trust, Google trained over 1 Mn women across 10 states to use the Internet.

It also announced plans to set up a ‘Cloud region’ for India. The company had previously announced plans to train 2 Mn mobile developers on Android, in order to make India a global hub for innovation. As part of the initiative, the tech giant launched its ‘Solve for India’ programme to empower developers from Tier II cities in April of this year.

In September last year, it created a website, Bharat Saves, to offer information on financial planning to the Indian audience. During the same period, the company introduced five new products tailored for expanding access to the Internet for Indian users, including YouTube Go, Google Assistant in Hindi for Allo, Station WiFi and new data-saving features in Chrome for mobile.

While the domain registrar market is already saturated with popular names like Bluehost and GoDaddy, Google Domains stands apart for its brand and ease of use. To be able to survive competition from other players in the space, however, the tech giant will have to either provide stellar customer experience and support or match its rivals in terms of discounts and deals.

(The development was reported by Gizmodo India)

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