(Picture: Getty)
  • Google just released "Google Go", an app that reduces the amount of data needed to display search results by 40%.
  • Voice search has been improved to work better on slow connections – and to recognise unique African accents.

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.

At Google, we asked ourselves, how do we solve these challenges that are unique to sub-Saharan Africa?
Mzamo Masito, Google's chief marketing officer.

Google Go loads results instantly as you type and smart word suggestions help you search faster with minimal typing.

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.

There is a unified screen that welcomes you with major Google services such as Search and Voice search. There is a search bar near the bottom of the screen, with a dedicated button for voice search.

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.

Tapping on the search bar shows what is trending; a tap on any of those topics takes you to search results for the topic.

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.

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