The Southeast Asian nation Burma (also known as Myanmar) has historically had some of the most severely limited internet access in the world, with less than one percent of the population of 60 million connected as of the latest figures from The World Bank. But following the end of military rule and democratic elections in 2010, Google is moving quickly to to take advantage of Burma's recent telecom reforms and reduced censorship.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt visited the country on Friday, giving a talk to university students in Rangoon, Burma's most populous city, calling upon citizens to "try and keep the government out of regulating the internet." The visit coincided with the launch of Google's new Burmese search homepage — Google.com.mm. Google will soon launch other services and apps, including Google Play and Google Analytics, as sources within the company told Quartz. Many of Google's efforts will reportedly focus on mobile, as Burma's civilian leadership has said it has a goal to increase mobile access to 80 percent by 2015, up from 9 percent now. The move is just the latest in what's quickly become a development-focused tour of the world by Schmidt, following his visits to North Korea and sub-Saharan Africa late last year. He also just visited India just earlier this week, where he again called for governments to support, and not block, the open web.
Update: Quartz writer Sam Petulla reports that Play and Analytics went up today in Myanmar as well.