Google plans cheap websites for small Indian firms

NEW DELHI, November 2, 2011 (AFP) – Internet giant Google on Wednesday launched a low-cost scheme to help small Indian businesses start their own websites as the country’s booming economy increasingly moves online. “Businesses often believe that getting online is too complex, costly and time-consuming,” Google said. Firms would be able to set up and maintain basic websites to boost their Internet profile and find new customers, the company said at the unveiling of the programme in New Delhi.

Registry costs and all technological support on building the website would be free for a year before monthly pay-as-you-go fees kick in.

“The initiative aims to break down the barriers that stop small businesses from getting online by offering a quick, easy and free tool to set up and host a website,” Google said in a press release.

It said it would take only 15 minutes to register and get online with an .in domain name.

Just five percent of India’s eight million small and medium-sized businesses have websites, Google said, adding that it hoped 500,000 firms would get online through its programme within three years.