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Google partners with Cuba for faster YouTube, Gmail

The search giant will install servers on the island to store data for its services.

Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt poses beside a picture of late Cuban political leader Fidel Castro during the signing of a bilateral agreement with Cuban national telecom provider (ETECSA) in Havana.
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Google's YouTube will now be able to load a lot faster in Cuba.

Google on Monday signed an agreement with Cuba's national telecom provider, ETECSA, to store data for Google services on the Caribbean island. Previously, signals had to travel from Cuba through Venezuela, which hurt the quality of the data. Google sites like YouTube and Gmail should be able to load up to 10 times faster within Cuba, according to the Associated Press.

"Cubans who already have access to the internet and want to use our services can expect to see an improvement in terms of quality of service and reduced latency for cached content," Marian Croak, vice president of access strategy and emerging markets, and Brett Perlmutter, head of strategy and operations at Google Cuba, said in a blog post.

The US cut economic ties with Cuba more than 50 years ago, but President Barack Obama has sought to normalize relations. Still, the US has no direct data link with the island, the AP said.

Google's deal with the ETECSA should help Cuba make strides in offering normal internet access on the island. Still, the deal doesn't mean Cubans will have broader public access to the internet, and it doesn't impact Cuba's outdated infrastructure.