Tech giant Google announced Thursday the launch of a new product, Google Go, an app built specifically for the African market to users searching the Internet lighter and faster experience.
The company announced the launch to Nigeria and 26 other Sub-Saharan African countries with the intention of addressing the issue of slow internet connectivity.
According to a statement released by Google, “as more and more Africans come online every year, using mobile phones as their primary and sometimes only internet device, online isn’t somewhere they ‘go’ anymore, it’s where they live – connecting with the people, places and things that matter to them. Weak data connectivity, high data costs, and low RAM or storage space often make it hard for people to get the most out of the Internet – Google Go is built to handle these challenges.
Mzamo Masito, Google Africa chief marketing officer, 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,”
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As smartphone penetration increases on the continent, there is still a wide divide in smartphone specifications and internet connectivity. The app wants to give users a seamless web, access and search experience across the 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.
Smart suggestions give users search results while they are still searching and the new improved voice search can pick up the strongest of accent.
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 utilizes a new compression technology to make search and web experiences faster.
For now, Google Go is only available on the Google Play store for devices running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) and above.
Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, Google’s Head of Communications and Public Relations in West Africa, said Google Go is a new entry form into search and does not replace the Google app.