When Google introduced its service in 1998, it was primarily a site equipped with a search bar that allows users to ask anything they want on the Internet, with the hopes the engine would eventually give them the right answers to their questions.
Two decades later, the tech giant is updating the Internet’s top search engine with an app for the next wave of online users. Dubbed as an “all-in-one app”, Google Go aims to be the prime application of choice of mobile-first users.
The app’s homepage is equipped with eight widgets that can redirect users to functions and pages that Google feels most first-time Internet users would find useful. Some of the app’s widgets include the Google search button, Google images, YouTube and a page dedicated to the weather forecast. The app also has widgets for a voice search command and mobile downloads.
“With GoogleGo, we’re reinventing Google search for mobile. It’s fresh, really fast and personal. It’s built on insights from new online users all over the world,” Simon Tokumine, Google Search group product manager said in the Google for Philippines event on Wednesday, February 15, the first time the company staged such an event. The tech giant also made the app available for download on Google Play Philippines on the same day.
One of the app’s most distinctive widgets is the “Discover” button, which is customized for every user. In essence, it shows news and stories that cater to the preferences and interests of the GoogleGo user. The page is regularly updated and becomes a more efficient curator of a certain user’s news palate with regular use.
Pushing its efficiency standard a notch higher, the app can also read the text on any webpage accessed through it. Long form stories will no longer be such a tiring read as the app can identify and speak over 27 languages including English and Filipino.
Aside from the widgets, the app also allows users to install shortcuts to their favorite apps and websites. For example, a user may also access other social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter on the app, switching programs seamlessly.
Despite the app’s complex backend processes, GoogleGo only demands five megabytes’ worth of data to be downloaded on an Android phone. The developers also claim users will spend 40 percent less data if they use the app’s search function in contrast to accessing the service outside the app.
Its distinct flexibility and no-nonsense approach aim to make the online experience efficient for the first-time Internet user. It’s part of the tech giant’s “Next Billion Users” initiative, or the company’s effort to develop programs and products for the world’s next generation Internet natives.
The billion-dollar company believes the next billion will be coming from emerging countries like the Philippines, a mobile-first population with the majority owning affordable smartphones. Couple that with data showing Philippine users as the world’s most Internet heavy, spending 10 hours a day specifically, and the company’s aggressive investment in the country is no longer much of a surprise.
This story originally appeared on Esquiremag.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors.