Ten months after opening its regional office in Nairobi, Google has launched Kenya’s online map, signaling an improvement in local content generation and innovation.
The map was developed by a team of seven students from three Kenyan universities together with a team from India. Replacing a previously limited online map of four highways, the move has now placed Kenya on the level of other countries served by Google Maps.
With a fiber-optic cable being laid by 2009, it is expected that the cost of Internet access and communication will significantly decrease while connection speeds increase, and people will be able to access Google applications even more quickly, said Joe Mucheru, Google lead in East Africa.
The online maps will eventually be available via mobile phone and can be loaded easily on computers with low Internet speeds.The maps will support other Google applications, such as Google Search, and businesses will be able to list their contact information and directions on the map.
Mucheru said the maps are extremely dynamic and called them a great jumping-off point for the content development strategy that the government is adopting.
In the past year, Kenya has been preoccupied with policy issues, cables, bandwidth and cost of services. The focus is now shifting from supply to the demand side.