Google acquires popular Indian train tracking app

Tim Maytom

With around 300m smartphone users in the country and still plenty of room for growth, India has become an increasingly important market for Google, and the search giant’s latest move is acquiring Sigmoid Labs, the firm behind popular transportation app Where Is My Train. The Android app, which has over 10m registered users, helps users track train arrivals and departures, as well as enabling users to buy tickets.

While a price for the deal hasn’t been official announced, India’s Economic Times has reported that the deal was worth between $30m-$40m (£23.9m-£31.9m), and comes after several other potential buyers looked into acquiring the firm, including smartphone maker Xiaomi. Google has confirmed the deal has taken place, but has declined to provide a price or further details.

Where Is My Train is one of a number of train-tracking apps available in India, with rivals like iXigo and RailYatri having received backing from a number of venture capital firms. The app benefits from working offline or in areas with poor connectivity, and supports eight different languages. It is the sole app currently operated by Sigmoid Labs, which was founded by four former TiVo executives in 2013.

“We created the Where Is My Train app with the mission to use technology to improve the lives of millions of Indian train travellers,” said the team at Sigmoid Labs in a statement on the acquisition. “Over time, we’ve improved the app to make it even more convenient and useful, and we’re thrilled with the response that we’ve gotten from users. The confidence that our users have placed in us is what makes us so excited to think even bigger. We can think of no better place to help us achieve our mission, and we’re excited to join Google to help bring technology and information into more people’s hands.”