Google will soon release an app called Google Go which will help users to overcome the slow internet speed in Africa. The app reduces the amount of data needed to display search results to 40 percent. Google Go has also been developed so that the voice function can work efficiently on slow connections. Google Africa Chief Marketing said, “Weak data connectivity, high data costs, and low storage space often make it hard for people to get the most out of the internet. Google Go is built to handle these challenges.”
Google Go is the most recent app by Google to push its services into the emerging market of sub-Sahara. Google’s parent company, Aplhabet Inc, has also laid fiber-optic cable on the continent apart from developing the app. The tech giant is also looking for ways to make Android phones cheaper and easier to use. Google Go will be available in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and can also be accessed from the Google Play Store. Oreo devices will come on the market with the app pre-installed.
Facebook has also started pushing its services in this region. Facebook and Google are battling with each other to provide internet access to this rapidly growing market. Facebook launched its internet.org initiative in 2013. A part of this initiative was the Facebook Basics program which allowed access to Facebook without any data charges. The service was provided in many parts of the continent. The program was criticized as ‘digital colonization’ and was banned in India. Facebook came under fire again in Africa for collecting huge amounts of data through its WiFi express program.
Facebook provides local ISPs with the equipment which is necessary to set up WiFi internet connections in the local communities. While doing so, Facebook is powering the connections but not providing the internet. Facebook tried to purchase equipment from Ubiquiti on the condition that Facebook can install its own software in it, which was refused by Ubiquiti. Later on, Facebook bought equipment from Cambrian and they allowed custom software installation. The industry leaders are suspecting that Facebook is using that software to collect data from all those users who are connected on the ‘Powered by Facebook’ devices. However, the exact details about the software are still unknown.
Fingers crossed about who will dominate the sub-Saharan internet market