Search and advertising giant Google is boosting its user base in Africa by building more internet accessibility.
Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria, will get 200 Google Station wifi hotspots across five cities in Nigeria within one year. According to CNN:
The fast Wi-Fi project is a critical component of the company’s Next Billion Users plan to develop products for the next billion internet users, the company said. And the company has its eyes set firmly on emerging markets such as Brazil, Indonesia, India, and Nigeria to get more users online.The future of the internet is in the hands of the next billion users—the latest generation of internet users to come online on smartphones in places like Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and Nigeria, said Caesar Sengupta, the project lead.“The next billion users are already changing the internet in three key ways: a mobile-only mindset, an instinct for ubiquitous computing, and a demand for localized content,” Sengupta said.
While these projects are couched as moves to help more Africans come online, they are also plays to increase revenue. Increased internet access means more Africans will spend time online, likely using tech companies’ products and thus driving revenues through advertising and paid services.
In Nigeria, as Google Station will focus on major cities in locations mainly frequented by the middle class, it’s unlikely that users will be connected to the internet for the first time through the service. But regardless, as users access the free service, they will also be boosting Google’s revenue. The company will monetize Google Station through local advertisers and share revenues with technical partners, according to Anjali Joshi, vice president of Google’s Next Billion User program.