The Web in India: Anecdote 1 - Proxy browsers don't work

I had the good fortune to work from India for a week to do a presentation about Performance and run two codelabs with leading developers in Bangalore and across Inida. I also met up with many companies who are doing interesting things on the web and on native. I learnt a lot about the state of the web from some of the companies in this market and I intend this to be a little series of anecdotes that I heard from developers.

As with all anecdotes, these were taken from a relatively small number of developers but who had data to back it up. These will need more research to see if they are pervasive (I think they are) and I am looking for feedback.

One consistent theme that I heard from developers is that proxy browsers, specifically UC Mini and Opera Mini "don't work", they have such a low level of conversions for users on those apps that businesses are choosing to try as hard as they can to move users of these browsers in to their apps.

Digging into what doesn't work, it is specifically around payments.

  1. Most forms require JS or other logic and the proxy browsers fail on this,
  2. Even if the user gets past this, the Indian government requires all payments on the web to be 2nd factor authenticated. It is these 2nd factor auth pages provided by the banks that don't work well on mobile web and not at all on proxy browsers (normally due to JS requirements)

Do you have a different experience? Do you cater for proxy browsers such as Opera Mini and UC Mini? If so, how?

I lead the Chrome Developer Relations team at Google.

We want people to have the best experience possible on the web without having to install a native app or produce content in a walled garden.

Our team tries to make it easier for developers to build on the web by supporting every Chrome release, creating great content to support developers on, contributing to MDN, helping to improve browser compatibility, and some of the best developer tools like Lighthouse, Workbox, Squoosh to name just a few.

I love to learn about what you are building, and how I can help with Chrome or Web development in general, so if you want to chat with me directly, please feel free to book a consultation.

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