(Source: Neighbourly App)

Google Starts Rolling Out Neighbourly App Across India

Google started rolling out its Neighbourly app, which lets people share information about a neighbourhood, across India.

The app had clocked more than 1.5 million downloads during beta testing in about seven cities. According to Google, it has a waitlist of half-a-million people.

It’s launching Neighbourly starting with Bengaluru and Delhi, the two cities that topped the waitlist. “This will be followed by a pan-India roll out of the app in the coming two weeks,” Ben Fohner, senior product manager at Google’s Next Billion Users, team told BloombergQuint in an interview.

Unlike its rival Facebook, Neighbourly only allows users to browse, ask and answer questions without sharing personal information. The app shows user’s first name while keeping the phone number and other information private, said Fohner, adding that it only reveals the name of the neighborhood and not the exact location.

To safeguard the profile picture of users, the app doesn’t let you enlarge the photo or take a screen shot, Fohner said.

Neighbourly lets users ask questions verbally in their local language, and it only allows users to follow a question (but not a person).

With about half-billion Indians using smartphones, the Mountain View, California-based Google is yet to decide on how to monetise the service. “The focus is to grow the number of users and make the experience of users seamless,” Fohner said.

Google is looking to take the app beyond India as well. “The need exists everywhere,” he said. “But it’s not something we are doing immediately.”