The beginning of this month marked the 10th anniversary of the opening of the first Google office in Africa, and Google held an event in Johannesburg to celebrate the milestone.
They used the opportunity to announce that their Digital Skills Programme had reached their target of training 1 million Africans in everything from social media marketing to Analytics, and to reveal some interesting statistics.
South African Search Traffic
Search traffic in South Africa has grown some 300% in the last seven years, in comparison to the 150% growth globally in the same period. Obviously much of this is due to the increasing number of people gaining access to the internet, but it also represents an increase in the level to which online search is becoming integrated into everyday life.
However, despite this growth, it seems like it will still be some time before we can look forward to Google hardware here, due to a number of localisation dependencies.
Merchant Support For Developers
Shortly after the anniversary event, Google also confirmed that they are now providing support for local developers for the Google Play Store, allowing South African developers to sell paid application, in-app products, and subscriptions on Google Play, and get payments directly into their local bank accounts.
In conjunction with this, the Google representative also briefly discussed the availability of Google’s AI offerings (via TensorFlow) to allow local developers to use the Google API to supply serious computing power and algorithmic data analysis for projects, making some ambitious development concepts more feasible for South African developers.