>> Silicon Valley giants are clashing in India. Google is fighting to keep its edge over rival Facebook in the competition for digital advertising dollars. India is key to Google's strategy to sign on its next billion users. It's been in the country far longer than Facebook, but recently its India team was shocked to learn that Facebook was coming up fast.
Reuters Sankalp Phartiyal explains why.>> In developing markets such as India, more and more consumers are gravitating towards Facebook and it's siblings WhatsApp and Instagram. And these gains are translating into Facebook's advertising revenue. Despite the Cambridge Analytica scandal and lynchings in India, some of which have been blamed on false messages circulating through WhatsApp, Facebook has done well in India.
>> The company pledged to clamp down on fake messages after a series of mob killings. In one case, five men visiting a village were beaten to death following rumors about child abductors circulating on WhatsApp. But experts say Facebook still has an edge. Its more visual ads help bridge language barriers, and it's a better platform for targeting young consumers and rural users.
Facebook should generate about $980 million in revenue this year in India, compared to a billion for Google last year. Google is now pushing back.>> Google has designed tailor-made products for countries such as India. India after all is the fastest growing digital ads market in any major economy.
Google has designed apps like Files Go and a payments app specifically with Indian users in mind.>> So far efforts seem to be paying off. Indian users are spending more time on Google services than on Facebook services during the first half of the year. Turning those gains into dollars could be crucial for Google.
Experts say the company's future success hangs on battles it's fighting in India and other developing countries.