Its new app "Google Go" will address the unique problems users have in sub-Saharan Africa, the search giant said on Thursday – notable slow connections, and accents very different from those of the USA.
Smartphone users on the continent have devices low on RAM and storage space, Google South Africa says, the kind of devices that globally fall into the low-to-mid price range. And that meant the majority of Google search users could not fully use features such as voice search, which required high-end devices.
The app was optimised for the data-conscious sub-Saharan Africa market and saves up to 40% in mobile data while searching, Google South Africa head of communications Mich Atagana tells Business Insider SA.
Voice search has also been improved to work better on slow connections and – most importantly – recognise unique African accents that were previously badly interpreted.
The 5MB app is quick to download takes up minimal space on your phone. Web pages load quickly and loads results instantly as you type; smart word suggestions also help you search faster with minimal typing.
Google Go is available in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa through the Google Play Store. It will come pre-installed on all Android Oreo (Go edition) devices.