In its bid to help develop Nigeria’s Tech industry, Google has launched a Google Station for Nigeria in conjunction with 21st Century Technologies; a Nigerian fibre network provider.
This Google Station is a program with intent to provide high quality and high-speed Wi-Fi hotspot in Nigeria.
While announcing the Station’s launch, Google’s VP Product Management Anjali Joshi, said the program will fix connectivity challenges experienced by millions of internet users in the country. Although the Station will be limited to Wi-Fi Hotspot within Lagos for now, it is expected to reach 200 locations across 5 cities by the end of 2019.
These free Wi-Fi hotspots are currently available at the Landmark Centre, The Palms Mall, Ikeja Mall and MMA2 Domestic Airport Terminal in Lagos State.
Nigeria becomes the fifth country to get a Google Station; other countries include India, Indonesia, Thailand and Mexico. The rollout sites in Nigeria would eventually be expanded to include markets, transport hubs, shopping malls, universities as well as other urban centres.
Asides from the Launch of the Google Station, Google also made other significant announcements regarding its tools and applications. These announcements include;
Improvements to Google Search
According to Ken Tokusei, PM Director International Search @ Google, Nigerians always find creative ways to use their devices. This has informed the inclusion of the “Job Search Feature” to Google search. This new feature is unique to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya and was developed in collaboration with experts at the University of Ibadan.
Google Search also enables users explore health conditions based on symptoms as well as Food search which allows look for recipes and find inspiration for food.
Street View has been expanded to include 7 more cities in Lagos as well as an expansion of the existing Discover Nigeria gallery.
Streetview’s Discover Nigeria gallery has been expanded to include the National Museum in Lagos, Olumo Rock in Abeokuta, Millenium Park in Abuja, and Lekki Conservation Centre.
In the coming months, the Go browser will soon read web pages out loud and highlight each word so users can follow along.
YouTube Go users will soon be able to browse downloaded videos, saved as .yt file from their phone gallery. The new update lets users browse downloaded YouTube Go videos, saved as .yt files, right from the gallery on their phones without opening the YouTube app.
Google Maps Go
Machine learning has been very useful for Google Maps. Through AI you can detect addresses for buildings through Street view imagery. This has enabled Google to map an evolving city like Lagos quickly.
Equipped with artificial intelligence and machine learning, Go maps will now provide users with turn-by-turn directions, whether they’re travelling by car, bus or on foot.
This device has been launched in 30 counties in Africa and gives people coming online for the first time a powerful and reliable smartphone experience; it is sold for just under $50!
Speaking on the new products and updates, Google Nigeria Director Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor said;
“We are offering new solutions to improve and expand access in Nigeria and across Africa; these launches demonstrate our commitment to Africa through products built to help people in Africa to make the most of the Internet.”
The final Keynote Address was delivered by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo where he expanded the opportunities in the Nigerian IT industry extensively; According to the President,
“Nigeria will be the 3rd most populous nation by 2050 and with this number, there are a lot of crisis and technology is the tool we have to the rescue. It will also be impossible to use classrooms alone to teach this number, so technology is also invaluable in this and other cases,” he said.