Google has refreshed its Street View with nearly 300,000 kilometers of imagery in Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria, and Senegal in a bid to enhance virtual navigation on Google Maps.
Google Street View is a technology featured in Google Maps and Google Earth that provides interactive panoramas from positions along many streets in the world. It was launched in 2007 in several cities in the United States and has been available in Kenya since 2018.
The firm says the move aims at helping users virtually explore and navigate neighborhoods on Google Maps.
Google has also announced it will extend the service to Rwanda making Street View now available in 11 African countries.
Google also announced plans to establish a new Google Cloud region to be based in South Africa as part of its $1 billion investment commitment made last year by Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai.
The firm says Cloud Region will help users, developers, businesses, and educational institutions across Africa to move more information and tools online, improve access options for customers, and in turn, create jobs.
“We believe in growing an open and healthy ecosystem of technology solutions to support Africa’s digital transformation goals, which lead to more opportunities for businesses. It is part of our company-wide ethos to respect the environment, which is why we operate the cleanest cloud in the industry, supporting sustainable digital transformation,” said Niral Patel, Director of Google Cloud Africa.
Two firms, South Africa’s retailer TakeAlot and Twiga Foods are already leveraging Google Cloud to improve their operations.
“Along with the cloud region, we are expanding our network through the Equiano subsea cable and building Dedicated Cloud Interconnect sites in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, and Nairobi. In doing so, we are building full-scale Cloud capability for Africa,” added Patel.
Google also announced the launch of voice typing support for nine more African languages on the Google keyboard (Gboard, ).
The languages include isiNdebele, isiXhosa, Kinyarwanda, Northern Sotho, Swati, Sesotho, Tswana, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga.
24 new languages are now supported on Google Translate, including Lingala, which is used by more than 45 million people across Central Africa.