Out of all the continents, Africa has the lowest number of people that have access to the internet. There are very few who have Wi-Fi in their homes, while many still rely on using Wi-Fi hotspots to connect and communicate with each other online. Realizing the problem, Google has now announced its Google Station program in Nigeria and other product initiatives, to boost internet connectivity in the country, and the continent.
Under the Google Station program, the company is planning to provide high-quality and high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots in the 200 locations in Nigeria, across five cities. Google is doing so with the help of 21st century, which is the largest fiber network provider in the country.
These high-speed hotspots will be setup in places where people can take the most advantage of them including markets, transport hubs, shopping malls, universities and more. Through this, Google will be providing internet access to millions of people in the country. Alongside Nigeria, Google Stations is also being launched in India, Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico.
Besides its Wi-Fi program, Google also plans on bringing in new features through its Android Go platform and other services that will help people in Nigeria and other African countries. A new feature is being added to Google Go, which reads webpages out loud and highlights each word, in order to make it easy to use the web. The feature is expected to be available for billions of pages across 28 languages in the coming weeks.
Google is also launching a new feature on Google Maps, which allows users with low memory phones or unstable network connections to get timely directions, regardless the means of transport. Later this year, Google will also make it possible to watch all the saved videos on YouTube Go in the user’s Gallery app on the smartphone.
Watch: Google Go: All you need to know – English
Not just people. Google is also helping startups and other organizations in Africa to move forward. Earlier in the year, the company kicked off its first class of Launchpad Accelerator Africa, in order to support tech startups by providing them with mentorship, working space and access to technology. Google reported the twelve startups that graduated the program to have directly created 132 jobs between them and raise funds over $7 million (approximately Rs 48 crore). Moving forward, the company is now in the process of selecting 36 nonprofit and social enterprise innovators, who can produce the best uses of technology to tackle Africa’s biggest challenges.