Ola, India’s most popular mobile app for transportation, today announced the launch of its Progressive Web App (PWA), a lightweight mobile website that offers users, especially in smaller towns and cities, an app-like experience on simple smartphones, requiring a fraction of the data used by native apps. Ola’s PWA will enable the use of its platform across hundreds of cities in India and addresses a significant market opportunity of customers and driver partners.
Announced at the Google I/O developer conference in San Francisco today, PWA will operate in ways that address the local consumer needs and provide light and agile functionality, enabling Ola to magnify its reach to tier two, three, and four cities across India. Ola’s PWA, which consumes only 50 KB data on first payload and 10 KB on subsequent loads, will emerge as the preferred option for cab booking for thousands of non-frequent app users. Additionally, PWA presents itself as a convenient option for Outstation and Rental customers who can now access Ola through this light application on their mobile phones and desktops/laptops alike.
Ankit Bhati, Co-Founder and CTO of Ola, said, “The launch of PWA technology represents another milestone in Ola’s commitment to building innovative technology that is made for India. As the first ride-hailing app in the APAC region that is using PWA technology, this represents an important development that will enable us to reach an ever greater number of customers and driver partners in rural India. We have always said that addressing market needs is a key priority and this launch takes us one step further in our commitment to providing mobility for a billion Indians.”
“At Google, we are deeply committed to making the mobile web better for everyone. Our PWA journey began a few years ago and we are delighted to see the traction this technology has had, especially in mobile-first countries like India. It’s exciting to see Ola create their PWA, which will ensure their users have an engaging experience from the very first moment,” said Rahul Roy-chowdhury, VP Product Management – Chrome, Google.
Although smartphone usage in India has increased in the last couple of years, it still lags behind most other emerging economies. With the majority of the Indian population using low-end smartphones, the presence of too many apps tends to slow down the functionality of the phone due to higher RAM and data usage. PWA will overcome technological barriers to entry in key markets and make Ola the first ride-sharing platform in hundreds of cities across India, where there is limited connectivity and a prevailing use of low-end smartphones.
Key features of Ola’s PWA include:
• Simple design, lightweight, and fast usage in areas of low connectivity, consuming only 50KB on first download, and 10KB on subsequent downloads
• Operates at speed on 2G networks and also supports offline bookings; initial load time on 2G is 3.4 seconds and repeat load time is < 1 second
• Behaves and looks like an app, providing the reach of Internet while offering an immersive customer experience similar to native apps
• Ola is the first ride-sharing app in APAC to use PWA technology as well as the Polymer framework
• Seamless integration of extended offerings, including Ola Money and Ola Care
Users can book an Ola cab through PWA across all categories and can also pay for their ride through Ola Money, making the mobility experience seamless and convenient. Other options such as OTP verification for rides, use of maps for pickup and drop location, ride later options and the use of Share Pass will also be available on Ola’s mobile web browser.