New Google Go app tackles slow internet speeds in Africa

Google Go reduces the amount of data needed to display search results by 40 percent.

Steven Musil Night Editor / News
Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
Expertise I have more than 30 years' experience in journalism in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Steven Musil
2 min read

Google Go aims to help people in Africa overcome poor internet connectivity and high data costs.


Google is releasing an app intended to help internet users in Africa overcome poor connectivity and the high cost of data.

The app, Google Go, reduces the amount of data needed to display search results by 40 percent and allows previous searches to be accessed offline, the search giant said in a company blog post. Voice search has been adapted to work better on slow connections, including 2G.

"More and more Africans are coming online every year, using mobile phones as their primary and sometimes only internet device," Christina Lin, Facebook products marketing manager for sub-Saharan Africa, said in the post. "But weak data connectivity, high data costs and low RAM or storage space often make it hard for people to get the most out of the internet.

"Google Go provides a lighter, faster way to search," she wrote.

Google Go is the search giant's latest effort to expand its reach into sub-Saharan Africa, where Facebook has already rolled out several initiatives to bring low-cost and free broadband to hard-to-reach areas. Last year, the US-based tech giant announced plans to teach 10 million people in Africa online skills over the next five years to make them more employable.

The app operates on devices running Android v4.3 (Jelly Bean) and above and will be available in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It will also be pre-installed on all Android Oreo (Go edition) devices, which will be available in stores soon.

Cambridge Analytica: Everything you need to know about Facebook's data mining scandal.

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.