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Google’s newest app for emerging markets is a service that helps control data usage on a smartphone and get more for your top-up credit.

Datally, which is available for Android devices worldwide from today, applies granular control to enable a user to monitor use of data on their phone and cut data usage on any app as they please. The app design is simple and it appears to be effective. A pilot test in the Philippines gained 500,000 users who typically saved 30 percent of their data plan using the app.

That makes particular sense in emerging markets like India, where the app is primarily focused, and Southeast Asia, where it was trialled, since most smartphone owners have prepaid SIM cards which take them offline when the credit is spent.

Beyond helping cut out data-heavy apps when a user wants to focus on a different service or app, Datally also provides an update on how much data each app is consuming — Google calls this a ‘speedometer for data’ — and it alerts users when they are near to a public WiFi point.

That latter point ties into Google’s free WiFi push which has seen it roll out free hotspots across India, including over 100 train stations, and expand the initiative into Southeast Asia, too.

“There is, in my view, a Silicon Valley blindspot. That is why with things like Next Billion Users initiative at Google, we are building technology which we know is meant for these markets. When we solve it, it brings those technologies to the world,” Peeyush Ranjan, VP of engineering for Google’s Next Billion Users initiative, told FactorDaily in an interview.

Other Next Billion initiatives include India-based payment service Tez, a storage saver app and a data-light version of YouTube.

Google has also made acquisitions to bring engineering talent to the initiative. It snapped up Halli Labs, a Indian AI startup led by ex Twitter data scientist Pankaj Gupta, this year and bought the team behind Singapore-based enterprise chat startup Pie in 2016.

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