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Google Finally Lets Nigerian Voices Give Directions

Google Finally Lets Nigerian Voices Give Directions

By CultureBanx Team

  • Google Maps in Nigeria will now be voiced in a local accent

  • Africa is a mobile first economy with over 700 million cell phones

In a brand new move, Google (GOOG -0.63%) has made changes to its Maps platform in Nigeria, aiming to make travelling easier for those living in the country. This is the first time the tech giant has offered such a service in Africa, and is all part of a plan to attract more users on the continent, by allowing Nigerians to hear travel information in a local accent. 

Why This Matters: The upgrade to Google Maps will also include a more detailed map as well as motorcycle directions, available in Benin Republic, Ghana, Rwanda, Togo and Uganda. Google has identified these African countries as potential growth areas and hopes these changes will capture new users and expand beyond car drivers. 

Google has identified these African countries as potential growth areas and hopes these changes will capture new users

“There are 10 million (motorcycles) in Nigeria, it’s hugely popular,” said Ramesh Nagarajan, Google’s director of product management. Also, Africa is a mobile first economy with over 700 million cell phones, and could play a vital role in Google’s expansion.

Rapidly expanding populations, increased mobile phone penetration and crowded cities with poor signage have encouraged big tech companies to identify African countries as potential growth areas, according to Reuters. 

Google has worked hard to expand in West Africa, especially Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country with an estimated 190 million citizens. Last year it unveiled WiFi hotspots across Lagos, and in 2017, it launched a program to train millions of Africans in tech skills to make them more employable.

Situational Awareness: In addition to upgrading Google Maps, the company is also working on internet safety in the country. They’ve partnered with the Nigerian government to curriculum to educate 56 million students.

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