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Google has announced that, as of today, YouTube will be available in isiZulu and Afrikaans, two of South Africa’s most widely spoken languages. The internet giant says the move is part of its ongoing effort to localise services.
The announcement comes shortly after the one year anniversary of the launch country’s own YouTube channel. .
According to Google, localised YouTube channels like the South African one, have made it “faster and easier for…users to find and view the videos most relevant to them”.
“The new language versions mean that internet users whose first language is isiZulu or Afrikaans can now fully enjoy what YouTube has to offer,” says Luke McKend, Country Manager, Google South Africa.
“YouTube gives South Africans the power to broadcast themselves, with great content in both languages finding its way onto YouTube,” he added.
McKend went on to illustrate the potential the new languages by listing a number of popular language-specific channels on the platform.
“Popular Afrikaans channels include Die Heuwels Fantasties, Huisgenoot Tempo, kanaalMK and Pasella TV. Meanwhile MduComics is a trumpet for isiZulu content and users can easily find Zulu music on JusGorilla“.
Localised content is not, however, the only way Google has tried to make YouTube relevant to emerging markets, particularly those with broadband issues.
YouTube Feather only includes the sites most basic features, “to help ensure that those with low-speed internet connections are able to play videos faster”.
Google is also engaged in other online projects in emerging market countries. In a number of countries, for instance, it provides free websites. The latest of which is India.
Google claims that YouTube views have increased in South Africa 175% in the past year. Perhaps most relevant to emerging markets, however, is the fact that “50% of smartphone users watch videos on their phones every month”.
“YouTube is a place where content is created and shared,” says McKend, “so we’re looking forward to seeing more South African videos uploaded, including content in isiZulu and Afrikaans”.