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First Google South Africa networking session kicks off

googlesa1.gifThe new Google country head Stafford Masie held an informal get together and networking session for about 60 or so local internet players on Monday afternoon. He said the briefing was off the record, but later made exceptions for bloggers. It was a good session — the first ever held by the new Google South Africa.

It was a marathon of presentations from Googlers Frederick Leuschner, Carmel Doherty, and Ryan Kitching (a South African living in Eire) — and then presentations by internet stats guru Arthur Goldstuck, Quirk boss Rob Stokes, entrepreneur & VC-man Vinny Lingham, Acceleration director Richard Mullins, Richard Simpson from BulkSMS… and then at the end I also gave a presentation.

Like many in this industry, Stafford said he believed that this country is poised for a big, belated online boom. We are about to see the “dam walls crack… I honestly believe that…” And it’s plausible for a country that has been held back structurally as a result of expensive internet and a virtual telecoms monopoly. Of course in recent times this has been changing for the better.

Globally, Stafford believes that the internet was coming of age and that local marketers should see the global audience as their market and not just be restricted locally: “Your audience is everyone around the globe that is connected, South Africa is a market segment of a broader world market segment.”

Maisie said that Google would be making a “big mobile play” in the country — not surprising on a continent that has more mobile users than fixed-line telephone users. Referring to the recent release of Android, Stafford said that mobile will be big news for South Africa, and that he would be selling South Africa to the rest of Google from a mobile perspective.

Google is expected to officially launch in South Africa early next year.

11 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    November 20, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    Maisie? Or Masie? Looks like your spellcheck got the better of you, Matt!

  2. Henk Kleynhans

    November 20, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    Maisie? Or Masie? Looks like your spellcheck got the better of you, Matt!

  3. matt

    November 20, 2007 at 2:11 pm

    thanks, fixed

  4. matt

    November 20, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    thanks, fixed

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  6. Ella

    November 22, 2007 at 10:39 am

    Very interesting that Google are concentrating on Africa, thanks for the post. Along with the satellite conference being held in West Africa currently, and Nigeria’s launching their first satellite, it seems like some positive steps are being taken, especially if Google think it is worth their while investing time and money into the area.
    I have written some posts about the satellite conference, and google’s interest in the area, along with other thoughts on appropriate development for Africa on my new blog http://www.designedforafrica.org, if you are interested.

  7. Ella

    November 22, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    Very interesting that Google are concentrating on Africa, thanks for the post. Along with the satellite conference being held in West Africa currently, and Nigeria’s launching their first satellite, it seems like some positive steps are being taken, especially if Google think it is worth their while investing time and money into the area.
    I have written some posts about the satellite conference, and google’s interest in the area, along with other thoughts on appropriate development for Africa on my new blog http://www.designedforafrica.org, if you are interested.

  8. Pingback: matthewbuckland.com » The local web: The year that was 2007

  9. Pingback: matthewbuckland.com » Google SA meets the media

  10. Pingback: First Google South Africa networking session kicks off « Google in Africa

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