Google South Africa held its first ‘Google for South Africa’ event in Johannesburg on 7 November 2019, where it announced a number of initiatives and products specifically tailored to the South African market. The best one, Google Station, expected to provide fast, free and open Wi-Fi to the Cape Flats in partnership with ThinkWifi, an internet service provider.
“By gaining access to information via the internet, we hope that people in these communities will get a more equal opportunity to learn and develop and live more empowered lives,” says Google Africa director, Nitin Gajria.
Where to find Google Station
According to a press statement, it is now available in over 100 locations across Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Delft, Elsies River, Philippi and more. These areas are some of the most underserved communities in the country, with high unemployment and crime rates.
“Think WiFi are passionate about providing fast, free, reliable, uncapped WiFi in underserved communities- giving people access to more on-line resources and more opportunities.
Through our partnership, Think WiFi and Google will provide unlimited Wi-Fi access to communities in townships, public areas, universities, transportation hubs and shopping malls, laying the foundations for broad-based, inclusive participation in the benefits industry 4.0 brings,” says Think WiFi CEO, Janine Rebelo.
Smart investments across Africa
Last year, we awarded $6-million to 36 non-profit organisations across Africa through the Google Impact Challenge; 12 of them from South Africa. Building on this, today we are investing $1m as part of its five year commitment to non-profits and social enterprises, to support the economic empowerment of girls and women in South Africa.
Head of Marketing South Africa, Asha Patel said: “One of the key focus areas of our programmes has been the empowerment of women and minority groups, and I’m happy to say that 48% of the people we have trained in South Africa are women.”
Added feature, Google Go
Google also announced updates toGoogle Go, a product that makes it easier to discover the best of the internet, even on low-RAM smartphones or unstable network connections.
As of 7 November, theDiscover feed is now integrated within Google Go to help users stay in the know with their interests, like the latest content on their favourite football team, people of interest, music and news stories.
Users are also able to use Google Go’s ‘read out loud’ feature to hear a website or a news story by tapping the play icon when they open a search result. Using only their voice, users can ask the feature to call mum, play the latest Kwesta video, or find the best route to their favourite kota place.
Added feature, Bolo
Bolo is a speech-based reading app that helps children learn how to read in English. It encourages them to read out loud and then provides individual, customised feedback to help improve their reading capabilities. It’s already available in India, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.
Added feature, Cameos
Cameos, a selfie-style video app, allows celebrities and public figures to answer questions about themselves directly within Google Search.
“We hope that the products and updates we’re announcing today will make Google even more helpful for getting things done. We remain committed to bringing the transformational power of technology to people everywhere,” Gajria added.