India has an overwhelming market when it comes to anything that is related to public transport, especially Indian railways and Google realises that. After significant efforts in the area of making internet available to passengers at Indian railway stations, Google’s new step should be able to help Indians book tickets and track their rides better.
Google has procured Bengaluru-based Sigmoid Labs, the developer of the Android app called “Where is My Train” the Economic Times reports. The app is relatively popular on the Google Play Store (free) and has more than 10 million downloads to its name, and Google’s backing is likely to push it further.
A vital characteristic of the app is that it is available in eight different languages so that the information can easily be accessible to a large population of its users. Another interesting aspect of the app is it runs even with limited or no internet connection.
Also, in cases of a poor GPS signal, it switches to a cell phone tower information to ascertain the location of the train accurately. Aside from this, the app also lets its users find trains that are based on the origin and the destination, even when their names are only partially correct.
Meanwhile, the financial details of the deal or the company’s past fund-raisers are still unavailable, and ET predicts that the agreement may have been concluded for $30 to $40 million. Google who reportedly confirmed this but abstained from sharing the financial specifics. This acquisition is part of Google’s “Next Billion Users” program.
Out of the ten people that make the core team of the app, are five former executives of the US-based entertainment TiVo Corporation. Google told TechCrunch that the app would ‘continue to build on the current offering’ and thus it doesn’t feel like a step to shut a competitor app.
The team also announced by updating its website with a message that reads, “We can think of no better place to help us accomplish our mission, and we are excited to join Google to bring technology and information into more people’s hands.”
At present, the app is only available on the Android platform, and there is no information about an iOS version yet.