In countries with the slowest internet in the worlds, it takes more than a day to download a high definition movie of 7.5 gigabytes (GB). Unfortunately, majority of these countries are in Africa. To ease the pressure of waiting a whole day and spending a lot of data on one task, Google is releasing a special application just for the African continent.
With the new application, previous search results that have been opened with data can now be accessed when there is no data. Also, the amount of data needed to display search results will be reduced by 40 percent with the new application. Finally, voice functions can now work better on slow internet connections (2G networks inclusive).
Google Africa’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mzamo Masito, stated, “Weak data connectivity, high data costs and low storage space often make it hard for people to get the most out of the internet, and Google Go is built to handle these challenges.” Adding also that the new app will be available in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and will be pre-installed on all Android Oreo devices.
This development from the technology giant, however, does not eliminate the challenges of slow internet on the continent access.
Three years ago, when David Weekly, Google’s product manager, attempted to access various website while seated at the airport in Kenya, he noticed that although the Wi-Fi quality was excellent, many websites still loaded slowly.
After a thorough investigation, he realized that Facebook and Google Kenya were reaching him from London while Apple was transmitted from Paris and Twitter was coming all the way from Atlanta, Georgia.
Data travels fast, but when compared with the the speed of light, data travels 31 percent slower. And given that most of these data have to travel across various continents, it becomes even slower. For every link you try to access on a web page, your device sends a request that is routed to a server where the web page is hosted, and then data for the page you clicked is sent back to you.
The advantages of fast and accessible internet cannot be over stated. It connects people, boosts intra and inter continental trade, among other things. And Google Go is just one of the many things that will be needed to make internet more accessible in Africa.