Speaking at the second Google for Nigeria event, Google Nigeria Country Director, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor said the launch of the Google Station in Nigeria is in a bid to make the internet more easily accessible to Nigerians. In partnership with one of the largest fibre network providers in Nigeria 21st Century, the program will provide high quality, high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots to the 200 locations.
Setting a target of 2019, Ehimuan-Chiazor noted that the service will bring Wi-Fi to millions of people. According to her: “Sites include markets, transport hubs, shopping malls, universities, and more. Nigeria is the fifth country to get Google Station, after India, Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico.”
She further observed that Google is also making search more powerful for ordinary Africans. Job search launched in March in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, and is now rolling out in 29 new countries. In Nigeria, Google is launching a search experience that allows users to explore health conditions based on symptoms, as well as recipe search for anyone who needs a little food inspiration.
StreetView’s Discover Nigeria gallery has been expanded to include more of Nigeria’s wonders including the National Museum in Lagos, Olumo Rock in Abeokuta, Millenium Park in Abuja, and Lekki Conservation Centre.
Additionally, Google announced the update of several products from its “Go” initiative, which was launched in the past year. The ‘Go’ product suite aims to give people with low bandwidth connections and low-RAM devices the best possible Google experience. These new features include, ‘Google Go’ which will soon read web pages out loud and highlight each word so users can follow along. ‘YouTube Go’ users will be able to browse downloaded YouTube Go videos, saved as .’yt files’, right from the gallery on their phones. ‘Google Maps Go’, will provide users with turn-by-turn directions, whether they’re travelling by car, by bus or on foot.
‘Android Go’ was launched in Nigeria and 29 other African countries earlier this year. The Go OS gives people coming online for the first time a powerful and reliable smartphone experience. Across Africa, Transsion, Nokia, Huawei, and Mobicel have launched various devices, starting at just over 17,000 Naira.
Further on its inroad into Nigeria and other African countries, Google said that over 2.5 million of the 10 million Africans the firm had promised to train by 2022 have been trained through the Digital Skills Programme. Google has trained a further 9,000 Africans in mobile app development, and Google’s Launchpad Accelerator Africa initiative graduated 12 promising startups from across the continent in June.
The application process of the ongoing Google Impact Challenge, part of Google’s $20m Google.org commitment to Africa over the next five years, closed with over 5,500 entries. The process of selecting the 36 finalists has begun.
“We are offering new solutions to improve and expand access in Nigeria and across Africa; these launches demonstrate our commitment to Africa through products built to help people in Africa to make the most of the Internet,” concludes Ehimuan-Chiazor.