Google Go comes to Nigeria and 29 other African countries.
The internet can be achingly slow and expensive in parts of Africa, undermining fledgling tech ecosystems and the ability of Africans to connect globally.
Google, the largest search engine company is giving users a faster and lighter way to search and access the internet, by releasing an app that will make it lighter to browse online, with search results optimised to save up to 40% data. The Google Go app will available in 26 sub-Saharan Africa nations and is customised to function on Android devices with low storage and will load on slow and unstable connections including 2G networks. At five megabits in size, the app will allow for voice recognition in search instead of typing, while easily switching between languages including Swahili.
Speaking at the launch in Ikoyi, Lagos, Google’s Country Director, Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, revealed that: “There are about 30 million smartphone users and the number increases annually, however, upon expansive and in depth research in to smartphone usage it was found that 73% of users have less than or 1GB RAM and low memory space which causes hitches while searching on the internet. Also there is the issue of data cost and reliability.
As smartphone penetration increases on the continent, there is still a wide divide in smartphone specifications and internet connectivity. The app “Google Go” will give users a seamless web, access and search experience across board regardless of what device they use or how strong their data is.
Google Go organises all a user’s interest in one place; trending topics, quick search functionality, images and GIF search, and voice search among others. And a smart search suggestion that gives users search results while they are still searching and the new improved voice search can pick up the strongest of accents.
A spokesperson for Google Nigeria said after research, they discovered users wanted search and web experiences to be easier, faster, cheaper and more intuitive.
Speaking further, Google Africa Chief Marketing Officer, Mzamo Masito said;
“Users come to us to experience the web and access accurate information quickly. Unfortunately users can’t always decide on the type of device they have or the kind of connection they are on. Google Go is designed from the ground up to address these issues and provide a seamless experience irrespective of what device or network the user is on.
Weighing less than 5 megabytes, optimally functional on low-RAM smartphones, and able to save up to 40% data, Google Go seems like an answer to Nigeria’s internet situation. It utilises a new compression technology to make search and web experiences faster.
Google Go is only available on the Google Play store for devices running Android 4.3 and above.