Google chief executive Sundar Pichai and his team visited Nigeria to unveil a selection of products designed specifically for people in the West African nation, including a YouTube version built for Nigerians with slow internet speeds.
The specially-designed version of the online video platform, called YouTube Go, allows users with slow internet to preview and save videos in various resolutions to watch later offline, saving data costs and providing a better experience regardless of speeds.
The users can then watch the saved videos at a later stage without the need for an internet connection. This was revealed as part of the Google for Nigeria event.
Nigeria is the second country to receive YouTube Go functionality after India, and is a boost for a nation that enjoys video content thanks to the popularity of sports such as soccer and a growing Nollywood film industry.
Nigeria has over 100 million internet users, with 93 million accessing content online thanks to mobile devices, but data is expensive and average internet speeds are very slow.
Pichai, in his first ever visit to Nigeria, spoke about the importance of providing African people and Nigerians in particular with support so that innovators are able to effectively impact their communities, setting up a challenge where winners will receive a grant of $5 million to develop their concept.
“We ask nonprofits from around Africa to nominate the best ideas and we allow local people to vote for what they think is the best idea. Non-governmental organizations nominate themselves and people get to vote and choose where the funding goes to,” revealed Pichai.
More good news for Nigerians
In addition to the specialized version of YouTube, Nigerians will have an improved Google Maps experience in Lagos, with with thousands of new residential and business addresses added, as well as Street View functionality, where users can view over 6,200 miles of images related to the streets of Lagos.
Google had more good news for Africans, with the announcement that they are expanding their initial promise to train one million young people in Africa to 10 million over the next five years.
As part of the updated pledge, Google will provide mobile developer training to 100,000 Africans, with an initial focus on Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.