Google Myanmarogle Myanmar
For the time being Google and Facebook are in Myanmar.
Despite state action to facilitate broadband communication technologies, especially the web, Google and Facebook are reluctant to increase their Myanmar population. In Myanmar, the web has been available since 2000, but remains highly trafficked until 2011. Though Facebook and Google were never prohibited, there were several sites, among them Twitter, CNN, BBC and exiled mass media organizations such as this one.
Benefactors in Myanmar's cafés - which did not existed until 2004 - were asked to enter information such as their home addresses, the name of their schools and a tutor, and the language they spoke before they logged in. But today's Myanmar includes everything the web has to provide, especially those connected to people.
It' s not unusual for high-ranking policy makers like U Ye Htut, Deputy Information Minister and President U Thein Sein's spokesman, to publish policy opinions on Facebook's own pages, which are then frequently cited in the papers. However, the Myanmar Telecommunications Act's proposal could lead to a regression for the liberty of the web and act as a further deterrent for newcomers.
Google's Head of Communications and public affairs for Asia Pacific, Amy Kunrojpanya, noted that such widely framed crimes could be used to smother the free and open community discussion. "Burma needs to set up an early web system, but that's unlikely if they don't know what they can and can't say on line, while those who are hosting contents on line aren't aware of how much they are accountable for commenting on their sites," she said.
Myanmar has approximately 400,000 web surfers, or 0.8 per cent of the country's total populace, according to the state-owned Myanmar Post and Telecoms webmaster. Most of these are in Yangon and Mandalay, only 10,000 in other towns. This number is rising gradually, as is the number of ISPs, which currently is five.
Costs for establishing an ISP are lower than in the past, but are still at (at least) $600 - which is why there are now literally a thousand cafés. Whilst anecdotic hints suggest that Facebook is the most favourite Myanmar based online community, Google and Facebook were not willing to publish search or user stats from Myanmar, and there is currently no other trusted resource.
15 Yemoe Aung goes to an cybercafé every single second. It evenly divides this period between Facebook and videogames. Tinoo, 63, uses an online café every single working day for his work for a shipowner, but says that he only surfs on Facebook in passing. Though Facebook has Myanmar's linguistic preferences, there are no minorities' ethnical dialects - which are about 100 and comprise about 3 million Shan people.
Facebook county spokesperson Charlene Chian said to the Myanmar Times that although Facebook "is interested in the land, there are currently no intentions to extend its offering by opening a branch office". Its nearest affiliate is in Singapore, an important region -wide platform that enables Facebook to close promotions with companies that target certain types of user by using information from likes and other Facebook-interaction.
In Myanmar, Google does not yet offer a searchengine, which means that although some results are available in Myanmar, the keyword itself must be used. A bi-lingual Google-supported Google based Myanmar Englisch browser was launched in 2009. Myanmar-myanmar.com and according to a Myanmar Times article, the site received an annual traffic of 4,000 visits per page almost immediately after its inception.
Although it also provides a listing of 2000 Myanmar sites, it can't compete with a giant like Google. Probably the greatest disincentive for behemoths like Google and Facebook is Myanmar's sluggish on-line ad campaign. Myanmar's low web usage could also be a great chance, especially for Google.
Google built a fiber-optic wideband in parts of the United States in 2012, offering up to 1 Gbps or 100x faster than the latest default bandwidths. Myanmar's web infrastucture must certainly be improved in the near term, so early entry into the nation and developing relations with governments and the community should be high on the Google list if Google is to be successful in this undeveloped world, whether in developing its public space or extending its publicity.
The adoption of an as yet incomplete FDI Act is anticipated to bring significant benefits to Myanmar in terms of attracting FDI and the communication area. Burma has already shown that it is hopeless to go online - but are Google and Facebook equally interested in building a powerful foundation in Myanmar?