Google plans hub in Singapore to help 'next billion Internet users'
Google's communications manager Robin Moroney (L) plays table soccer with a Google employee at a recreational area of their Singapore office July 8, 2013 Reuters

Google has said it will set up an engineering hub in Singapore to focus on a region that continues to record fast growth in the number of first-time Internet users.

The technology and content hub will focus on creating products for mobile-first Southeast Asian users, senior Google official Caesar Sengupta said last week.

Writing in Google's Asia Pacific Blog, Sengupta said the Internet experience of millions of people in Asia is vastly different from the conditions in the rest of the world.

"...the computing experience for most of these first-timers, coming online in places like India, Indonesia and the Philippines, is very different from the one many of us grew up with," he said.

"Their main (and in most cases, only) "computer" is a low-cost smartphone. Connectivity is expensive in relation to incomes, and frequently patchy – websites, maps and especially videos can take minutes to load and often time out. And for many, there is just not enough relevant content available in their language."

That's the reason why Google plans to build a new engineering team in Singapore that will get closer to the next billion users coming online and to develop products that will work for them, the official said.

He said Google's acquisition of Singapore-based business messaging start-up Pie was a step in this direction. Pie was tailor-made for a region where people mostly use a low-end smartphone and a patchy internet connection to access the internet.

Google said it thinks Singapore, which is hyper-connected with some of the fastest Internet speeds in the world, is the best place to drive the innovation from.

Google also said it has invited local engineers and students to join the company.