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The Internet is becoming a less alien phenomenon in the countryside, but the development of local-language applications holds the key to connecting more of the 568 million who live in rural India to the World Wide Web, a survey has found.  The study, part of an ongoing joint effort by market research firm IMRB International and the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), an industry body, is the first to map Internet usage in rural India. The study was conducted in September. According to the study, around 15.1 million in the villages have knowledge of how to use the Internet, which includes around 5.5 million rural dwellers who claim to have accessed the Internet at some point of time. Of this, some 3.3 million are active Internet users in rural India. The survey cited a need for localizing online content to spread Internet usage in rural India. “The rural market holds tremendous potential for any media. However, for Internet to flourish in rural India, the applications need to be in vernacular languages, preferably with text to speech capabilities,”said Mohan Krishnan, senior vice-president, business and industrial research division, a specialized unit of IMRB.
“It would be better if visual symbols, graphics and rich media applications are used,” he added. “The key question is whether we have the right infrastructure to support these applications.” Read more at http://www.livemint.com/2009/01/14215232/Local-language-apps-key-to-rur.html