Google is furthering its global reach by pushing out some new mobile initiatives in Africa. Three new services including Google SMS, Google Trader and Google SMS Tips have been rolled out this week.
Google SMS is actually a collection of mobile apps that provides access to information such as news, local weather, sports, etc. This information comes through via SMS, and can be considered a mobile RSS of sorts. Next is Google Trader, which is a mobile “marketplace” for buyers and sellers and is actually a part of the Google SMS suite. Whether you’re selling livestock or you’re seeking a seller to buy a new car, Google Trader is a mobile classifieds on a hyper-local level.
Google SMS Tips is Google’s version of mobile search, where a query can be sent in via text message and the response will be sent back in the same manner. Search is at the core of what Google does, so this may be one of the more important mobile apps to come out of Google’s release today. As Google SMS Tips may be more encompassing than the other apps, it’s the core of what Google’s simplified mobile access can provide to the widest range of users.
The Google SMS Tips app is particularly interesting because of the trend we’ve seen in the past few years, where search has been attempted in a more semantic realm, in part for ready mobile use. But more importantly we’ve seen this trend for mobile access to search content based on SMS as a channel for distribution. With services like Cha-Cha there was a great deal human capital invested into the service, while other tools such as kgb have been going mainstream in their approach to gain new users.
But as Google has always been interested in dominating the mobile realm, and has only increased these efforts with the introduction of the Android platform, the new services released today are both specific to the region and indicative of Google’s long term plans for its mobile strategy.
The idea behind this particular mobile push is to provide Google services to those that have mobile access but may not have regular Internet access. It’s an initiative that several companies have taken in order to grow their global presence, but finding the right balance for mobile services, translated content and compatibility with mobile platforms is something that these companies must deal with when reaching for that worldwide scale.
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