Google wants to avoid the slowness of Internet In Nigeria with its first “offline” YouTube
On his first visit to Nigeria, Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, came with gifts.
Pichai attended a Google For Nigeria event in Lagos on July 27, when the company launched a range of new products, including YouTube Go, an “offline” version of the video sharing platform for users with slow internet connections. YouTube Go will allow users to preview and download videos, rather than stream, and basically save on data costs.
Nigerian video content, led by Nollywood’s burgeoning film industry and pop stars Afrobeats, is extremely popular, but with slow and costly internet access, some Nigerians limit their online viewing to the workplace where connections might be Best according to executives in online video Companies like IrokoTV.
It certainly does not lack potential. Although Nigeria’s Internet subscriber base has shrunk over the past year due to regulatory repression of unregistered SIM cards, the country still has more than 91 million mobile Internet users, according to regulators. However, that vast user base is largely undermined by unreliable connections across the country. Nigeria has some of the slowest Internet speeds in major African economies. Google is betting on its new friendly version of YouTube to help local users navigate that problem. Nigeria will become the second country to launch the application after a beta release later this year. YouTube Go was first released in India in April.
Over the last few years there has been a lot of hype about the possible impact of Internet access throughout Africa, particularly as the use of the mobile phone, and then the use of smartphones, grew rapidly. But it is only in the last two years that the world’s top technology leaders have visited to see the potential of themselves. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella launched Windows 10 in Nairobi in July 2015, while Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook made high-profile visits to Lagos and Nairobi last year. Last week, Alibaba chief executive Jack Ma landed in Nairobi and Kigali.
Local founders and investors expect these high profile visits to help drive interest in their technological ecosystems beyond being seen as experimental or simply for social impact companies.
Google is also deepening its supply of products in Nigeria, including improving its map service which has seen the number of users of Nigeria double in the last year. As an additional feature for Google Maps, Google announced the launch of its Street View product in Lagos, which allows users to view virtually “10,000 kilometers of images” throughout the city.
Mr. Pichai said his company is also trying to plug the crucial funding and skills gap on the continent. Google has committed $ 20 million in “high impact non-profit” grants in Africa in the coming years. Google will also provide $ 3 million in equity-free funds to African entrepreneurs and will open its first Google Launchpad space outside of the United States in Lagos this year.
In addition, said Pichai, Google will train more than 100,000 software developers across the continent, with an initial focus on Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. Training sessions will also be offered in local languages such as Swahili, Hausa and Zulu and 40% of participants will be women.