However, I seriously thought that this was an early Apr 01 joke from Google India though I doubted that AirTel was cool enough to pull off something like that. India's biggest telco's ISP landing page AirTelLive.com is nothing but a google partnerpage which anyone with a domain name can build absolutely free of cost.
Google India, on request helpfully pointed me to a page which has info on a special partner program for ISPs though details on pricing etc. seem to be skimpy. However, the newest version of Google Apps seems to have dropped the ISP Partner section altogether and all the features are available to everybody! I remember trying out Google Apps when it was first launched and it took me exactly 5 minutes to configure something like this.
Contentsutra.com shares the same sentiment, though its pretty obvious that the comments are being seeded by Airtel PR (see comments 2 & 3).
I mean, the least that they can do is basic URL masking so that airtellive.com is all that users get to see instead of partnerpages.google.com... The "Register" link in the 'My Account' gadget at the bottom of the left column is broken. I know that Bharti has pioneered outsourcing of all non-core business (to IBM, Nortel, Ericsson etc.) but c'mon, this is totally pushing it!
Anyway, I have two questions:
1) Does anyone really want an email ID @your_isp.com when all these services are available for free on gmail or your own domain?
2) Why did so many news outfits actually take this seriously and carry it verbatim???
PS: This isn't the first time Google and AirTel have collaborated! The last time they did, the consequences were pretty disastrous!