At its first Google for South Africa event on Thursday, Google Africa announced the rollout of an exciting free Wi-Fi project and an app to help children improve their English reading.
The tech giant also announced the local launch of new Google Assistant features for South Africans.
Free Wi-Fi for the Cape Flats
The free Wi-Fi project, named Google Station, will be rolled out in the Cape Flats region in the Western Cape.
The project, which will be carried out in partnership with ThinkWifi, will see more than 100 Wi-Fi hotspots introduced to the area.
“Google Station is available in more than 100 locations across Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Delft, Elsies River, Philippi and more,” Google Africa said in a statement.
“These areas are some of the most underserved communities with high unemployment and crime rates. By gaining access to information via the internet, we hope that people in these communities will get a more equal opportunity to learn and develop and live more empowered lives.”
These hotspots will deliver fast, free, and open Wi-Fi for locals.
Bolo app to help children improve reading
Another announcement made by Google Africa is the local launch of the Bolo reading app. The app is speech-based and provides children with feedback when they read out loud — with the ultimate goal of helping them improve their English reading.
When a child does well, the app praises them. Children are also able to play word games and track their progress with Bolo.
The app has been used in other regions, including India, Nigeria, and Kenya. However, it is now launching in South Africa as well.
New Assistant features for SA
During the event, the company also announced some extra convenience features for Google Assistant, as well as the launch of Cameos on Google.
Google Go, the company’s lightweight search app, will now give users voice access to Google Assistant. Furthermore, Google Go will also integrate the Discover feed and the ‘read out loud’ feature for stories that appear on the feed.
South Africans will also now be able to use a voice command to order an Uber with Google Assistant. The AI has also introduced the news briefing feature locally, which lets you ask Assistant to read South African news.
Meanwhile, the introduction of Cameos lets celebrities and public figures answer common questions about themselves. The videos will appear on Google Search results when users enter these questions.