Alphabet’s African app will beat sub-par internet speeds
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Alphabet’s African app will beat sub-par internet speeds

Internet giant Alphabet is releasing a new app designed to transform African internet connections. Simply called “Google Go”, the app will decrease the amount of data needed for searches by 40%. It will be available in 26 sub-Saharan African countries, and marks the latest attempted expansion by the Silicon Valley heavyweight into the emerging markets’ which will contribute the next billion users to the world wide web.

Alphabet’s share price has edged up over the last five days

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SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Alphabet’s made other in-roads into Africa, including laying fiber-optic cables on the continent, introducing lower-price Android phones, and training local teams in digital skills. To release its new app, it will partner with big pan-African wireless carriers, ensuring it is preloaded on “some of their low-end devices.”

Google is not the only big tech player interested in Africa, and other companies like Facebook are also making in-roads. There is a wide perception in Silicon Valley that the continent is an “untapped market” for smartphones and services like web search and social media. Younger consumers in Africa are increasingly demanding quicker internet and cheaper phones, and both MTN and Vodacom (wireless carriers) see digital space as “their fastest-growing market.”

Google Africa’s chief marketing officer, Mzamo Masito, told reporters: “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.”

Eventually, the company plans to make it available in other emerging markets, such as India, Brazil, and Indonesia.

Disclosure

Dominion holds Alphabet in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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