UC Browser is one of the leading browsers in India until the government bans it, not only for Chinese browsers, but also for a total of 59 applications. Although its market share is significantly lower than that of Google Chrome, the application still has a large number of users in India. UC browser suddenly left Google Play, and many people are looking for alternatives.
Many Indian developers have begun to provide their products to fill in the gaps until the replacement of UC Browser enters the market. According to data shared by StatCounter, the Chinese browser is the second largest mobile browser in the United States after Google Chrome. It is pre-installed on many cheap smartphone models. However, after the ban on 59 Chinese apps from the app store, you can no longer get a browser.
BlueSky Inventions, a Bangalore-based software services startup, has partnered with smartphone manufacturers including Micromax, Karbonn, and Lava to develop a browser that is said to support UC Browser and Chrome. On June 23, BlueSky released Bharat Browser as its latest browser, which has features such as Indian language support and access to super-regional content to convince Indian consumers. Since its launch, it has received 50,000 downloads and received a 4.7 star rating from nearly a thousand users.
Bharat browser is not the first mobile web browser of BlueSky invention company. The startup uses the Venus browser as its first web browser for mobile users. It was launched in October 2017 and has been pre-installed on mobile phones by companies such as Comio. The original browser has been downloaded more than 2 million times, of which the number of direct downloads from Google Play has exceeded 1 million.
In addition to the Venus browser, the past Blue Sky inventions also developed some white label solutions specifically for different Indian suppliers. The startup also provides some business-to-business (B2B) solutions for technology giants including Amazon and Facebook. In addition, it is cooperating with some of the leading telecom companies in India to build web browsers for its customers.
TechnologyShout spoke with Dinesh Prasad, the co-founder and CEO of BlueSky Inventions over the phone, to understand how the Bharat browser is different from other Indian web browsers, and why we ultimately need an Indian browser. These are excerpts from the conversation.
Why do you think we need Indian browsers, and the core essence of the Web is to provide a general information system?
Yes, mature users like you and me know how to use the World Wide Web. In fact, this is how it was originally designed. But I don’t think most users who are experiencing [the] For the first time, India has a mature Internet that is qualified to use content or search for content through standard search mechanisms. The challenge is also related to the Indian language, as most of the standard content is mostly provided in English. So obviously this is the second problem. The third problem is that India is a very diverse country. We have different cultures, demographics, each region has its very specific application services and all of them. Therefore, there must be a mechanism to pass these areas to the end user.
Does the word “Bharat” in the Bharat browser attract users in India?
Of course, this will definitely make a little connection. I’m not sure if we rely too much on the term, but honestly, we are very excited about the product and its purpose. Seeing the name can only make you understand this. It can’t help you stick with consumers.
But why choose the word Bharat for the new browser? What is the main reason behind this?
No, I don’t think there is any specific reason. Obviously, Indians feel like doing something for the country. But I did not find any problems. In addition, we are not excited about losing or letting Indians use browser products from the Chinese market (such as UC Browser, etc.). So if [the word] Bharat helps people attract and help Indian startups, why not?
So, did you choose Bharat as a keyword to attract more users with only that name?
If you look at it this way, we are not the first to use Bharat in the Play Store. But we still bet on this. If you want to figure out whether this is a marketing method, I will not deny it. However, it is not just mere marketing that can help. You can’t just insist on marketing.
Is it more like using timing and anti-Chinese sentiment?
Of course, everyone is doing it. If you are looking at TikTok equivalents or Zoom equivalents, then this is happening. For Indian startups, this is an opportunity to stand up and compete with some large global Chinese companies. correct.
Do you think that consumers who use UC browser or Chrome will switch to Bharat browser in the future?
Based on the feedback we saw in the Play Store, we have seen the transition from UC to us. We do not have any definitive data to know whether the user is from UC or Chrome. But we assume that the response we get on the browser is that what people see on our products is a certain emotional value and a certain useful value. So this is the moment that is happening.
Since Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other big companies have made it easier for users to find regional content, how will you make any major difference for Indian consumers?
Google is a sea of data. The challenge is not that mature people try to find data. This is about how we finally present it to consumers. If you select any specific status on the “Status” tab of the “Bharat Browser”, such as Karnataka, you will get all related Kanada apps and your news, and the current news is displayed in Kannada language. Therefore, it is mixed with the process. Soon we will launch or expand our video page, which will also begin to provide multilingual video products in different languages. Therefore, these are some interesting ways to show to consumers who are not qualified or mature enough to always look for the right data.
Although the UC browser is banned, from a consumer perspective, why should I use a “Made in India” browser now?
If you are looking for an alternative to the normal Chrome interface that comes with any mobile phone, then we may be your choice, and then you can compete with several products that already exist on the market in this field.
Browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari have been scrutinized by researchers around the world. In this case, how do you ensure that end users can trust browsers they have never heard of before?
Most content or interfaces pass standards (limited to the World Wide Web). We have not created any content yet. Therefore, we only created one interface. Therefore, the IP rights of content, applications, and services belong to the company on our platform. If these contents are published by XYZ publishers, we do not assume responsibility for these contents.
To be honest, if you download our browser, we won’t get any permission today. If we don’t have any permission, then you know Google and we won’t steal anything from you. So if I didn’t steal anything from you, what would I do with your data? I actually have no data.
Why did Blue Invention migrate from Venus browser to Bharat browser in just three years of establishment?
Jinxing is our first generation product. Therefore, it obviously provides us with a lot of knowledge about performance and consumer preferences. Every product goes through a stage of development. When you enter the market, you will learn something, when you come into contact with blood, you will understand its complexity and all this. Therefore, this is why we transitioned from, for example, the “A” generation platform to the “B” generation platform. Then we said, let’s give it a new name and start over, instead of moving everyone here.
Why does the team no longer support browsers with more than 1 million downloads?
No, we support this. We may not add more features to the platform, but we will continue to provide support until there is only one user on the platform. Therefore, it is not that we want to give up this. That is not a plan. We have a support team. We have established a partnership that is already working together. Therefore, we will not eliminate it.
But, why provide the latest update on the Venus browser on July 30, 2019?
Yes, so we have been slowing this down because we have been focusing on a new generation of platforms. Like other companies, some people have been transferring new users from old users. We expect the transition will happen at some point. However, if people see the merits on my Venus browser and are around, we will continue to provide support.
We heard some rumors that the Venus browser was a white label for Micromax M before! The same is true for browsers. The browsing experience and interface of the two browsers are obviously the same. Can you clarify in this regard?
We do make products for telecommunications companies, original equipment manufacturers (OEM), etc. But we have strict confidentiality regulations in some aspects, but I will not violate them.
Is there a new company choosing Bharat Browser now? Of course, we don’t want you to mention these companies, but we just want to know if they choose products made in India.
We have received inquiries from some Indian original equipment manufacturers who have shown great interest and hope to embed them in their devices and bring them to consumers. Therefore, this is a positive sign, because they have come forward to seek cooperation. Time will tell everything, how our discussions with these companies will proceed.
Does any new telecommunications company in India plan to compete its competitors with JioBrowser, and JioBrowser is already available in the market as a browser made in India?
We are in discussions with other leaders, which is not difficult for you to guess. Therefore, there is no doubt that this is an interest, as things develop, we will see.
What is the main source of funding you currently have?
At this point, it has fully started. We have been able to control our costs and business so that our working capital needs only come from the revenue we generate.
So, are all the funds provided by you alone or involve other parties?
There is an angel investor in our company, and an angel investor invested a small amount of capital, but other than that, all this started at this point in time, and we will raise the next round of funds in the next few months.
This shows that you want to raise funds, right?
Yes, we are planning it, because in the end, if you understand our entire concept, then our origin is not a browser. Our origin is a publisher platform. Therefore, what we have to do is to create a publisher platform, any company can use it to create browser-based products.
How do you shape the “blue invention” in the future?
We are a publisher products company. We are not a traditional B2C company, but a B2B and B2C company. Therefore, we will work with multiple partners-not only in India, but also on a global scale-and are trying to launch some products on the global market as soon as possible. We are already in discussions with some telecommunications companies and other companies that want to use the browser platform to launch their products.
In 2020, will WhatsApp gain the killer feature that every Indian is waiting for? We discussed it on Orbital, a weekly technical podcast, you can subscribe via Apple Podcast or RSS, download the episode or click the play button below.