Tag Archives: Google

Google’s Bunmi Banjo is Giving One Million Africans a Digital Future

Bunmi Banjo: Google’s Brand and Reputation manager

Africa’s youth population is expected to double to a staggering 830 million by 2050, such rapid growth has led to questions about how the continent will keep up in terms of resources and jobs.
A report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) into World Employment paints a dire picture of the state of youth unemployment and working poverty on the continent.

According to the 2016 report, North Africa has the second highest rate of youth unemployment in the world, while sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rate of working poverty.

So how do you tackle a rapidly growing population burdened with high rates of unemployment?

For Google Brand and Reputation manager Bunmi Banjo it’s teaching millions of Africans digital skills, for free.

How to train a million

After a career in banking, Banjo said she saw a need to create economic opportunities for Africans, which led her to Google.

She joined the team in 2012 and under her leadership, the company has trained a million youths in sub-Saharan African in just eleven months.

“We have trained hundreds over the years but we decided that in Africa we really needed skill,” Banjo told CNN.

“A lot of them [youth] coming online only know about social and are using the web primarily as a communication tool which is great, but [they are] not realizing that there is a lot more they can do with it especially in Africa where the jobs are not there.”

Soon after the Digital Skills for Africa program launched in April last year Banjo found it necessary to raise the bar higher, and the company decided to train one million people.

“You can connect with people, grow your skills and potentially get jobs from across the world,” she explained. “This is what we want to make sure large numbers of young people are aware of.”

‘ Not a quick fix’

The training, a free crash course in digital marketing, was delivered in classrooms, online and offline for areas with limited Internet access. Training happens in over 27 countries According to Banjo, the course will give participants a 70% chance of becoming more employable.

“We know people across the region are ingenious, with a little they do a lot and they are thirsty for knowledge,” she said.

“All our classes are oversubscribed because they are eager to learn. If they had the right tools and information they will be able to.”

While she acknowledges this training is no ‘quick fix’ for the continent’s high unemployment numbers, she stressed the importance of teaching African youth about less traditional paths to job creation.

“A lot of young people will have to figure out how to create income and opportunities for themselves and we feel very strongly that the web is a way to do that.”

Getting value out of the web

According to Banjo the program is already yielding positive results.

” 67% of the people we have trained have said they have either gotten a job or they feel better prepared for jobs because of the training,” Banjo shared. “If only a few million people are impacted by 67% that is significant.”

But Banjo is not stopping there.

“I know a million on its own sounds big but we are talking about a continent that has 500 million people that have the potential to contribute to the economy,” she said. “A million doesn’t look so big anymore.”

Google plan to train at least another million by the end of 2017 and to offer courses in local languages including Hausa and Swahili and Banjo has no plans of slowing down.

“Every aspect of my job is about helping people get value out of the web…” she said.

“Young people [in Africa] are ingenious and all they need is a little support to connect to the tools they need to improve their future.”

“It’s not every time you get to do something where you get to meet the beneficiaries of the work you do. It’s the most rewarding feeling to point at the work you do and the impact it’s having at the level of the individual.

Source: CNN Africa

Alibaba, PayPal, Google, Facebook Battling to Dominate African Tech Industry

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African tech – and the continent’s growing middle class – is increasingly attracting interest from overseas, with serious activity on the continent this year.

Alibaba is expanding its UC Browser, the leading browser in China, to Kenya, with the company noting it had seen the potential growth in Kenya with the rise of smartphone shipments in the country. Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based digital lifestyle devices brand Zuri is to roll out its brand of smartphones in the Kenyan market.

It goes both ways, however, with Kenyan IM startup Ongair opening offices in Hong Kong during April, while other companies were active too. PayPal announced it was expanding its Xoom service to 12 more countries, including Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya, while Facebook moved a step closer to providing satellite broadband in Africa by partnering SES. Google plans to equip one million Africans with digital skills.

There was further funding news for Africa Internet Group (AIG) – which is apparently “Africa’s first unicorn”, as it raised US$75 million from mobile operator Orange, but bad news for one of its stable of companies as taxi app, apparently having lost out to Uber.

Other companies, however, are not so keen to leave the space to Uber. UK firm Tappago is to launch a taxi app in Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda, while even the Kenya Red Cross has got in on the act, launching an app that allows users to call ambulances via a smartphone. All such services will benefit from Google’s launch of live traffic alerts on its Maps service in Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

Africa’s on-demand economy continues to hot up, with April seeing a number of launches across the continent in the space.

On-demand home-cleaning service Kisafi launched in Kenya, while in South Africa HelpOut is piloting an on-demand services app. The Pretoria-based company will presumably come into competition at some point with getTOD, which has rolled out a similar concept in Cape Town.

South Africa also now has an on-demand moving service in the form of movethisstuff.

Ed-tech also seems to be taking off, with South African company 42courses launching a service that allows users to take courses provided by their favorite brands. Meanwhile, another South African ed-tech startup – iGrow Academy – is on an expansionist push after opening offices in the UK and Nigeria.

Finishing off with the compulsory list of funding rounds, it was another bumper month for African tech startups.

South Africa saw the pick of the deals, with Wi-Fi monitoring startup Asimmetric raising a seven-figure round from US-based hardware investors, while Custos Media Technologies, which uses the blockchain to combat digital piracy, raised US$265,000 from overseas.

There were also notable deals for Kenya’s Asoko Insight, South African ad-tech startup Ionizr and creative agency Conte, and Ugandan on-demand motorcycle app SafeBoda.

Source: The Next Web

These Google Search Instant Autocomplete Suggestions Show What People Think About Africa

It is a well-known feature of Google. Start typing in a search, and Google offers suggestions before you have even finished typing. Google says that the suggestions it shows reflect what many people are searching for — and thus think.

How does Google Instant’s Autocomplete Come Up With Those Suggestions?

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Suggestions Based On Real Searches
The suggestions that Google offers all come from how people actually search. For example, type in the word “ticket” and Google suggests:

These are all real searches that have been done by other people. Popularity is a factor in what Google shows. If many people who start typing in “ticket” then go on to type “ticket from nigeria to usa,” that can help make “ticket from nigeria to usa” appear as a suggestion.

Google says they use other factors also to determine what to show beyond popularity. However, that word suggested comes from real search activity by Google users.

Suggestions Can Vary By Region and Language
Not everyone sees the same suggestions. For example, above in the list is “ticket from nigeria to usa.” I see that, because I live in Nigeria and Nigerians fry more to USA, UK and Dubai more than any other destination in the world.

Language also has an impact. Different suggestions will appear if you have told Google that you prefer to search in a particular language, or based on the language Google assumes you use, as determined by your browser’s settings.

Previously Searched Suggestions
Google’s suggestions may also contain things you have searched for before, if you make use of Google’s web history feature.

How Suggestions Are Ranked
Popularity is a factor, but some less popular searches might be shown above more popular ones, if Google deems them more relevant, the company says. Personalized searches will always come before others. Google Autocomplete also has what the company calls a “freshness layer.” If there are terms that suddenly spike in popularity in the short term, these can appear as suggestions, even if they haven’t gained long-term popularity.

What Google Users Think about Africa and Africans

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These Google autocomplete suggestions: “Africa is in which continent” “Africa is a country” “is Africa in Europe” “is Africa in South America” show that most Google users lack basic geography knowledge of the world they live in and that very little is known about Africa.

Yesterday (April 1st), it was published on Washington Post that “two weary professors gave up the fight to convince Americans that Africa is not, in fact, a country. Conceding defeat, Assistant Professors Laura Seay and Kim Yi Dionne threw in the metaphorical towel on Friday morning. They were the last holdouts in a decades-long struggle against the forces of poorly-informed journalism, Eurocentric educational curricula, and Irish pop stars who peaked in 1987.”

“How did we miss that this fight was one we could never win?” cried Dionne. “I mean, there’s even a website. And if it’s on the Google, it must be true.”

Google says it, so it must be true. (Google)
When Dionne notified her friend and frequent co-author, Boniface Dulani (formerly of the University of Malawi and now of the University of Africa [*Editor’s note: At the moment, several hundred universities claim this name.]), he said, “I don’t understand. Here in Malawi – I mean Africa – we don’t have this problem.”

The funniest part of the gist is that “most Google users” that cannot tell whether Africa is a continent or a country and thinks Africa is in Europe also thinks African are lazy.

What Google Users Think about Nigeria , South Africa and Ghana

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Most Google users do not think Nigeria and Ghana are countries. They think Nigeria and Ghana are states or province in a country most probably called “The United States of Africa”. They think Nigeria is an Islamic state though not a terrorist state. They do not even know that South Africa is in Africa as the name implies.

They think Nigeria is an Islamic state but not a terrorist state. They think South Africa is an amazing country probably because of the Safari but also think South Africa is doomed ant not safe. I think the South African government needs a good PR team because this though is not good. The autocomplete suggestions for Ghana indicate that most google users do not even know whether the word “Ghana is the name of a food or a place.

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The suggestions for Nigeria largely indicate that the majority of Nigerian Google users are unemployed and are looking for uniform jobs. Most Google users (Africans probably) admires South Africa and are wondering if the country is a developed country or a third world country. Nigerians like calling their Nigeria, “the Giant of Africa”. However, Google is suggesting that Nigerians are not too sure if Nigeria is truly, the giant of Africa thus questions like “is South Africa better than Nigeria?” “Is Ghana better than Nigeria?” “Is Ghana richer than Nigeria”. These questions reflects the longtime rivalry over supremacy between Nigeria and Ghana on one side, and Nigeria and South Africa on the other side.

What Google Users Think about Kenya and Egypt

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Google suggests most Google user do not know Egypt is in Africa. They think Egypt is located in the Middle East just like Iraq. They know that Kenya is a country in Africa but they do not what part of Africa the country is located. The thoughts of Google search users about Africa and Africans is both hilarious and disappointing. The rate of ignorance is unbelievable. Western media continues to tell single story about Africa and Africans. In the eyes of the west, Africa is still a dark continent so dark that they cannot tell the difference between a man from Kenya and a man from Malawi.

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Most of the people who use Google search engine live in USA, Canada, Russia, Brazil, India, Europe Union and Australia. In each of these countries or region, Google has more than 70% of search engine market.

Google’s AlphaGo A.I. Defeats World Champion at the Game of Go

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The boundaries for what machines cannot do has been pushed a little farther, as Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo has beaten Go world champion Lee Se-dol in the first five matches.

AlphaGo is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) robot. It can think by itself. After a 3 1/2 hour game, Se-dol conceded to the computer.

This is only the first match, but Se-dol expected a 5-0 sweep on his part. During a press conference after the match, Se-dol hung his head.

“I didn’t know AlphaGo would play such a perfect game,” he said.

Demis Hassabis, founder and CEO of DeepMind, compared this win to landing on the moon in a tweet after the match was called.

Go was thought to be unplayable by a machine at a champion level, because the game is so complex. This idea was shattered in October 2015, when AlphaGo beat European chamption Fan Hui, but skeptics still believed that Se-dol would best the machine.

Behind the scenes, Google has been tweaking AlphaGo, learning from the mistakes it make in the 2015 match with Hui. That seems to have paid off, as even Se-dol, who studied the few previous AlphaGo games was surprised about how well the machine performed.

Much like Garry Kasparov in 1997, Se-dol also has not had very much access to games that AlphaGo has played, besides the 5 against Hui. Normally, both players would be able to analyze the other’s playing style and prepare themselves. On the other hand, it might not have mattered, since the computer doesn’t have a set personality or preferential style—it just looks to win.

The second match will take place Thursday, March 10 at 1 p.m. KST (or Wednesday, March 9 at 11 p.m. EST for us in the West).