In the bylanes of Hazaratganj, in Uttar Pradesh’s capital of Lucknow, mobile phone retailer Ganpati Mobile is doing brisk business. Each day, around 300-400 customers walk into its 2,200 square foot shop. But they aren’t all there to purchase cell phones. The store is also where content—from movies to songs and even apps—is exchanged. And the shop owners are the digital gatekeepers.
Once a purchase is made, store manager Sunil Yadav first installs Chinese peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing app SHAREit on users’ phones. Using this app, Yadav ships essential apps onto users’ phones.
Google wants its share of SHAREit’s sideloading pie
While India’s the country with the most number of annual app downloads from Google’s Play Store, P2P file sharing has kept Google’s visibility of tier 2 and 3 users opaque
Poor connectivity and costly data led to the rise of sideloaded content through apps like SHAREit
With 400 million users in India, SHAREit was a threat to Play Store’s dream of being the sole destination for apps
It also created a blind spot for Google, obscuring its vision of users in tier 2 cities and beyond
Now, Google has forged a partnership with SHAREit, but this doesn’t mean the two have stopped competing