Monday, July 27, 2009

So what do people want to know in Uganda?

I am impressed by the work Google is doing in Uganda with frontlinesms. The video editing is a bit crude at the beginning, but the main points are there.

The Google blogpost explains that most mobile devices in Africa only have voice and SMS capabilities, and so they are focusing their technological efforts in that continent on SMS. Last month they announced Google SMS, a suite of mobile applications which will allow people to access information, via SMS, on a diverse number of topics including health and agriculture tips, news, local weather, sports, and more. The suite also includes Google Trader, a SMS-based “marketplace” application that helps buyers and sellers find each other. People can find, "sell" or "buy" any type of product or service, from used cars and mobile phones to crops, livestock and jobs.

Google SMS Tips is an SMS-based query-and-answer service that enables a mobile phone user to have a web search-like experience. You enter a free form text query, and Google's algorithms restructure the query to identify keywords, search a database to identify relevant answers, and return the most relevant answer.

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