Soon, you could book an Ola cab even on a very slow mobile network

Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO and co-founder of Ola, in an Ola cab in Mumbai
App-based cab aggregator Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd) has launched a lighter version of its mobile website to help users in Tier-II & -III towns and cities, where high-speed internet connectivity is still not present.

According to a report in Livemint, Ola launched a progressive web app at Google’s I/O Developers’ conference in San Francisco, for easy access to services using minimum internet bandwidth.

“The launch of PWA (progressive web app) 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 (Asia-Pacific) 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 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,” Ankit Bhati, co-founder and chief technology officer at Ola, said in a statement.

The company claims that the PWA version takes only 50 KB of data on the first payload and 10 KB on subsequent loads. The web app loads in 3.4 seconds on a 2G network for the first time and takes less than a second to load again using cache.

The progressive web app is not only expected to help Ola reach out to consumers with low-end smartphones and inadequate storage or slow mobile Internet connection, but also outstation travellers moving through patchy network zones, among others, the company said.

In October last year, Ola integrated an offline booking feature to its app that allowed customers to book a cab using text message service.

You can book a cab even without any internet, directly from your Ola app! #OfflineBooking


— Ola (@Olacabs) May 16, 2017
The current development comes at a time when Ola seems to be losing ground to Uber Technologies Inc, at least in the top seven cities.

In a recent report by a research firm KalaGato Pte Ltd., Uber move past Ola on the basis of app downloads in the seven biggest cities in March.

Uber accounted for 47.3% of all cab- hailing apps installed, higher than the 43.7% for Ola, at the end of March, according to data from KalaGato.

Ola currently operates in 110 Indian cities as against Uber’s 29. Both companies generate more than 80% of their business from the top 10 cities.

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