Africa is probably the last place you would think of when it comes to technological innovation. It’s more known stateside for poverty, disease and war than computers, robotics and apps.
Recently, though, none other than Mountain Valley giant Google has thrust Africa’s tech scene onto our radar (quite literally).
While Google has offered its driving directions and map services since 2010 to most of Africa, according to the Google Lat Long Blog now Africans in 44 different countries can look forward to having Google walking directions as well.
The added directions are only one tree in the forest, though.
Gmail is now making its email services even easier for users in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya through Gmail SMS.
The service, says the Google Africa Blog, converts emails into SMS text messages and enables users to reply, read and create new messages, all through the texting function on any phone, smart or otherwise. In countries where reliable internet is rare but cell towers top every hill and building, there’s no way Gmail SMS won’t take off.
What’s even better is that the service is free for Gmail users (but standard carrier SMS charges still apply, obviously).
Offering services such as these to a continent with over 1 billion people and a budding consumer economy will prove an incredibly strategic path for Google.
Despite this, it seems Google is one of the only U.S. companies yet to travel to Africa.
As NPR notes, while cell companies Nokia and Samsung have dominated Africa’s mobile market for years, Apple is surprisingly lost in the woods.
According to the article, the Cupertino company has taken almost no steps towards the African market, unlike it’s trail-blazing approach on every other continent.
Perhaps Apple is reluctant because of the price of their products, or maybe they’re just focusing all their efforts on other regions. Either way, it looks like Apple’s directions are leading them to the wrong place entirely.
Should’ve used Google Maps.