As more and more Africans come online every year, using mobile phones as their primary and sometimes only Internet device, online isn’t somewhere they “go” anymore, it’s where they live – connecting with the people, places and things that matter to them. However, weak data connectivity, high data costs and low RAM or storage space often make it hard for people to get the most out of the internet.
“Users come to us to experience the web and access accurate information quickly. Unfortunately users can’t always decide on the type of device they have or the kind of connection they are on,” says Google Africa Chief Marketing Officer, Mzamo Masito. “Google Go is designed from the ground up to address these issues and provide a seamless experience irrespective of what device or network the user is on.”
Taking up less than 5 MB, the app is quick to download without using much data, and it takes up minimal space on a phone. It uses the latest version of Google’s advanced compression algorithm, using up to 40% less data to display search results. Search results are also cached on the device, for users to re-access previous searches, even when offline, without incurring further data costs. When there’s no internet access, Google Go retries failed search requests in the background and lets users know as soon as the results are ready. Web pages load quickly, even in data-saving mode or on 2G connections.
What this means for the user is a lighter, faster way to search. It loads results instantly as they type and smart word suggestions help them search faster with minimal typing. The home page icons make it faster and easier to discover new content and find what they’re looking for with a single tap. Voice search has been improved to work better on slow connections. Add the search bar widget to the home screen for fast and easy access to what’s trending.
Google Go is available today in 26 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa through the Google Play Store. It will come pre-installed on all Android Oreo (Go edition) devices, available in stores soon. It is available for devices running Android v4.3 (Jelly Bean) and above.