Here is a Roundup of all that Happened at the #GoogleForNigeria Event Today

David Afolayan

The second edition of the Google for Nigeria event was designed to bring together creators, innovators, business owners, and in fact, anyone with a digital business in Nigeria to discuss the newest improvements by Google to users’ experience, going forward.

Just like the first edition, the event, which was held at the Landmark event centre, Victoria Island, Lagos featured a lot of exciting vibes and saw Google platform users, partners, and other stakeholders in Nigerian industry gather together for an exciting session.

Related Post: Google is Set to Hold the Second Edition of its Google for Nigeria Event in Lagos

In the post, I will share with you important moments during the session today.

Google Announces Wi-Fi hotspots across Nigeria

During her presentation at the Google for Nigeria event, Google’s country manager, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor announced that Google has launched 5 free WiFi station at 5 public locations in Lagos: Unilag Campus, Computer Village, Ikeja, Muritala Mohammed Airport Wing 2, Ikeja City Mall, and the Palms, Lekki.

According to Mrs. Ehimuan-Chiazor, the initiative would ease the strain of affordability and access to data as well as help inch towards the broadband penetration goal of the country. Such a good initiative!

Related Post: Google Maps Poised for More Than Just Directions, Adds New Personal and Relevant Features

She also said that the free Wi-Fi was rolled out in partnership with an Internet Service Provider with an extensive fibre network, 21st Century Limited. She also noted that Google is open to partnerships with other ISPs and telcos.

The plan, according to her, is to roll-out 200 Google Stations across five cities in the country by 2019. These include Lagos, Kaduna, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, and Abuja. This, they say, will cater for more than 10 million Nigerians.

Sites that will host the stations will include markets, transport hubs, shopping malls, universities and more. Nigeria is the fifth country beneficiary of the Google Station initiative, after India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Mexico.

Just a note of fact: According to Google, only 35 per cent of Africans have access to the web, compared to 48 per cent in Asia, 67 in Latin America, 85 in Europe and 95 in North America.

You can now Listen to Web Pages Read out Loud

Another exciting revelation at the event was the announcement that Google is rolling out a feature that reads web pages out loud and highlights each word so you can follow along. The name of the new feature is ” Google Go”.

According to the Google team, the aim is to make it easier for people to use the web, even on low-RAM smartphones or unstable network connections. This new feature will be available for a lot of internet pages and in 28 languages in the coming weeks.

We look forward to this new feature!

Related Post: Nigeria’s Vice President Visits Google HQ, Ends Tour of Silicon Valley Today

The VP was there!

Nigeria’s Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo was at the event this afternoon. He delivered an address in which he spoke on “how government leverages on digital to create change”. Professor Osinbajo noted that “all the gaps created by exclusion and inequality can be breached with technology.”

He also promised that “the government will be partnering with Google and other technology providers to achieve the level of connectivity that will match the creativity of our people.”

At the end of his address, he took out time to interact with young Nigerians in the tech space.

Google Street View is Going Places!

Google also announced at the event plans to extend the Google Street View to 8 new cities in Nigeria in addition to Lagos. These new cities include Kano, Ibadan, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Benin City, Abuja, and Onitsha.

Updates include a navigation feature that allows users with low memory phones or unstable network connections to use turn-by-turn directions when travelling by car, by bus or on foot.

The most exciting news here is that you can now virtually tour the National Museum in Lagos, Olumo Rock in Abeokuta, the Millenium Park in Abuja, Lekki Conservation Centre and many others—all from your phone with the new Google Place feature.

Related Post: Google’s Latest Startup Report Indicates 7 Problem Areas in the Nigerian Tech Ecosystem

What have Nigerians been Looking for?

Ken Tokusei, Google’s Director on International Search revealed the list of top searched words by Nigerians in the past one year. The list interesting but not surprising. As seen in the tweet below, some top words include Wizkid’s Soco, NPower, World Cup Fixtures, How to Dance Shaku Shaku, BBNaija, Black Panther etc.

It also quite revealing that a very significant portion of our searches was health-related.

Now, Google has revealed that it is launching a new Search experience that allows users to explore health conditions based on symptoms. The new feature will also allow for a new recipes search experience. This will make checking out options for popular meals easy too.

Simi was there too!

One of the exciting attractions at the event is the performance by the popular artiste, Simi.

She made the event less-techy!

Just one BUT: The Crowd control was poor…

The Google for Nigeria event was open for all. Hence, there was a significant turnout. And, this has its attendant challenges:

This might have gotten a number of people upset too and we hope the next event will be better organized.

In Conclusion

Once again, Google shared a lot of exciting updates that will make life better and easier for a lot of people in Nigeria, indeed across Africa. This is a significant testimony to how much a difference technology can make if we take time to invest right.

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