Google Go, the search giant’s latest optimised app, was today launched in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The search app is designed for entry-level devices with an emphasis on saving data while providing users with faster search results.
“This is not a dumbed-down version of search, it’s a search version that meets the needs of people and their devices and the connection they are on,” emphasised Mich Atagana, Google South Africa’s head of communication and public affairs at the Johannesburg launch in Sandton.
Google’s four Southern African challenges
When developing the app, the challenges that Google identified to get more people online were:
* Low RAM
* Low storage space
* First time smartphone users, and
* Unstable network connections
“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,” says Google Africa’s chief marketing officer, Mzamo Masito.
And with the app taking up less than 5MB of storage space, 40% less data to display search results and a less than 25MB RAM footprint, Google Go seems like the perfect solution to search the web in a lighter, faster and cheaper way.
Six SA languages available
When you use the app for the first time it gives you the option of adding an additional language. Six of the 11 official South African languages are accommodated, including English, isiZulu, Afrikaans, Shona, SeSotho and isiXhosa.
Asha Patel, Google’s head of marketing in South Africa, adds that the voice search capability works well with South African accents.
We tested Google Go
So is it user friendly? Short answer: yes.
The user interface (UI) is sleek and easy to use with eight circular icons ranging from search, voice search to images and even gifs.
“The UI is quite a visual UI and everything you need is literally a tap away. This enables you to type less and discover more,” says Patel.
The speed of the search results really surprised us, with results popping up in milliseconds. The moment one taps the search icon the top trends (localised to South Africa) appear and when you type your first letter, the app immediately displays search results without you having to even tap the search button. But because the app aims to use less data, don’t expect the search results to have bright colours and loads of pictures. Rather expect more text in black and white.
Google Go also displays other apps just below the search bubbles, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Tapping them either takes you to the websites or the apps, if you have them installed.
The apps section is customisable and allows you to choose your favourite apps with easy-to-navigate categories for social, entertainment, sports and games.
The beauty of the Google Go app is that it is easy to use and fast while saving you data and storage space.
With this app you can at the very least access the web efficiently and seamlessly no matter the device and connection. And you’ll save some of the data costs that are such a burden to South Africans.
* Google Go is compatible with devices running Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) and above and will come standard with all Android Oreo (Go edition) devices.
* You can download Google Go here via the Google Play Store.
Have you tried Google Go? How did you find it? Let us know in the comments below