Google is set to release its Android Google Go app in Africa, targeted at internet users dealing with issues such as low connectivity speeds, high data costs and smartphones with small memories, media reports stated.
The company first launched Google Go in India in December 2017. The app is the search giant’s latest attempt to expand into emerging markets including sub-Saharan Africa and takes up 5MB of storage, reduces the amount of data needed to display search results by 40 per cent and allows previous searches to be accessed offline.
Google estimates there are some 230 million smartphones in sub-Saharan Africa and this figure will almost double by 2020. Many of the devices have less than 1GB of RAM and very little storage.
The search company partnered with operators MTN Group and Vodacom Group to ensure the app works on 2G networks, and modified its voice function to work better on slow connections.
Google Africa CMO Mzamo Masito 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.”
The app will be available in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and will be pre-installed on all Android Oreo devices. The company also plans to target other markets, including Brazil and Indonesia.
Earlier this year a light version of Google-owned YouTube’s standard app, designed for emerging markets, was given a full global rollout in 130 countries.