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Google Looks to Make Your Feature Phone a Bit Smarter With Google Free Zone

Last night on the Droid Life Show, we talked about Google’s penchant for throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks. Their latest project, Google Free Zone, seems to be one of those ideas, but we hope that it catches on. Currently being tested in the Philippines, Google is allowing feature phones that have access to the internet to get on Google+, Gmail and use Google Search without incurring any charges.

There are a few caveats however, the main one being that you will be exposed to ads in your searches, Gmail and G+ posts. While the initial searches are free, if you click a link that takes you to another site out of the Free Zone you will be charged, so users beware. It does seem that if this test goes well that Google will try and expand this to other carriers around the world.

Bets on if Verizon would allow this on their network?

Via: Google

  • baniels

    That’s exactly what I’d name a place that had no Google. Go figure.

  • The Dude

    Of course Verizon will let you do this, why wouldn’t they? All you need is the ‘MY Verizon Exclusive Google’ app which costs only $10.99 a month (for the first 10 searches), and they’ll even give you a month free !!

  • Royal2000H

    I see a flaw in this.
    Google gets paid for ad clicks. Google lets it be free by displaying ads, hoping to get the money back.

    The user is using this service in order to get free browsing, but any non Google site will cost money. An ad click will take the user to another site which will cost money.

    Therefore, users won’t click ads.

    • Justin Swanson

      Most users probably won’t understand (especially at first) not to click the ads. They might not understand that the website behind the google search isn’t free. Now, if this is used to ‘augment’ data usage (so the users don’t get charged for the commonly used electrons) then I think this is a pretty awesome idea.

  • verizon would allow it if they get discount on the ad rate lol

  • They have similar service in Saudi Arabia on Mobily

  • Detonation

    Is it just me or does “Google Free Zone” sound more like a place where Google is restricted, similar to something like a Smoke Free Zone?

    • Justin Swanson

      yeah… might need a better name…

  • Only for people with unlimited data, so Verizon can make more money off it.

  • antny

    remember when you could make phone calls using google voice? verizon wasn’t too happy with that one.

  • Brent Cooper

    It’ll happen on Verizon right after they give free unlimited data to everyone

  • SchwannyT

    Well Verizon won’t let Google do this, they will try to make their own, force it on all the feature phones, charge $.10 per search, then when no one uses it they will shut it down put still push ads to your feature phone at night to drain the battery. Again and again….

  • ToddAwesome

    Hahahaha, Eric, you funny S.O.B. Verizon. That made my day.

    • JoshGroff

      Verizon, free, and features all used in the same sentence, impossible.

  • duke69111

    Not a chance!!

  • schoat333

    I wonder how long Verizon will continue to offer feature phones.

    • Hunter

      as long as they make money on them…

  • Spider210

    well, my guess is they will allow it on basic phones but it will use data with the share everything plans 🙂

  • Mark

    Verizon will allow it if they can take up half of your Google Free Zone screen with their logo

    • Philip A. Kaiser

      Toss in some links to VZ navigator. Lol

      • michael arazan

        just add verizon ads, so customres on verizon get ads for verizon while using verizon’s network on the verizon branded phone. God forbid I don’t see the verizon logo once a day.

        • DonSerrot

          But if you aren’t constantly reminded you are using Verizon you might forget and think you were using T-Mobile or something! Thank goodness for all the Verizon logos! >_>

  • There is absolutely NO WAY Verizon will allow this. I’m leaving them anyway when my contract ends. Great coverage, great service…HIGH prices.

    • TankRizzo

      Great coverage, great service, high prices and worst of all horrible, restrictive, draconian policies.

      • michael arazan

        Terrible customer satisfaction

    • dsass600

      I’m going to AT&T and buying a Nexus. Are you doing the same?

      • DonSerrot

        Yes… and no. I’m going to Straight Talk, but It’ll be through AT&T’s network.

        • dsass600

          What does the plan include, and what are you doing for data?

          • DonSerrot

            It’s unlimited talk, unlimited text, and unlimited data. I’ve heard lots of information one way or another about what the unlimited data actually is for it and it seems to me that as long as you don’t constantly over indulge you should have no problem. It’s $45/mo pre-payed. You get the choice of either getting a sim that goes through T-Mobile, or AT&T’s towers. T-Mobile doesn’t exist where I live so it’s AT&T towers for me.

          • dsass600

            And why would someone choose a regular unlimited everything plan at $110 a month over this?

          • DonSerrot

            With pre-payed one of the big things is they don’t have to pay quite as many people. There aren’t dedicated stores you can go to for support so they don’t need people to staff them and thus don’t need to charge as much to be able to pay them all. As long as you are good with figuring out your own problems (or know the right places to look for answers) this is perfect. Also, it’s contract free so you are only going one month at a time. If another pre-payed pops up in your area with a better deal you can just switch. No $200 ETF or anything. Just get the other place’s sim card and pay for a month. Both have their pros and cons. Do research into all the options and see what is best for you. There have been lots of news posts around the Android world recently about pre-payed. I started looking into the options a loooong time ago to get my plan made up well in advance. I’m just glad Google did what I expected they would do with making the first version available a GSM one.

          • dsass600

            Is there such thing as an auto payment system, so I don’t have to worry about forgetting to pay and having my service shut down on me? Also will it have the same service as an AT&T phone if I choose to use AT&T towers?

          • DonSerrot

            There is! You can set one up and not have to worry. And yes, you get the same service. Looking at the phones that you can buy from them one has 4G HSPA+. Not LTE, but from what I hear it’s about the same. I’d expect the Nexus 4 would be able to take full advantage of that.

          • dsass600

            And what would some disadvantages be? Besides the lack of customer support, but I don’t really care about that. For example, can you roam outside of the country and still use the same networks that AT&T phones would use, and can I keep my phone number from Verizon?

          • DonSerrot

            You can have them transfer your old number. As for the outside the country part I honestly didn’t look too much at that. They do have an unlimited international plan for $60/mo but I think that’s to call other countries. You would need to check with them for that I think. As for the other cons… I honestly can’t think of them. I guess it’d just come down to how strong AT&T or T-Mobile is in your area. If they aren’t that great that’d be a con.


            Take a look over this. The site has all the important info, and contact info for any other questions. I can’t really say anything from personal experience, but like I said before I’ve been looking at this for a couple months now and this seems like it’s going to be the best for me.

          • michael arazan

            They should give you a discount for pimping all the info, maybe they could recommend you if they sign so you get a discount

          • DonSerrot

            Lol, that would be awesome if they did give me a discount! I’m all for saving my pennies! XD