Got a cheap phone? Google now brings faster search to Africa


Between the AMP project and data-saving features in Chrome, Google is providing a few solid solutions to data and speed constraints. Now, the search colossus announced the local availability of yet another solution in this regard.

It announced that a faster Google Search experience is now available for most of the continent. It explains that nearly 40% of Android device owners on the continent could have a “slow or delayed” connection due to using devices with low RAM. So what does the solution entail, then?

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“Now for most of Africa, when you search on Google with a low RAM device via the Google App, Chrome or Android browser, web pages that you access from Google’s search results page will be optimised to load faster and use less data,” read an excerpt of an emailed press statement.

“This feature is already available in Indonesia, India, Brazil and Nigeria, and analyses show that these optimised pages load three times faster and use 80% less data. Traffic to webpages from Google search also increased by up to 40%. However, if you’d prefer to see the original page, you can choose that option at the top of your page.”

Google Search is set to get faster if you’ve got a phone with a low amount of RAM

The mention of an “original page” initially made us think that this could just be an implementation of AMP specifically for low RAM devices. However, Google has also been quietly introducing Google Web Light, an initiative that sees the firm “transcoding” webpages on the fly for slower connections. And unlike AMP, this requires no work on the part of the publisher/website.

We’re also wondering whether Google Search Lite might make its way to the continent too. The lightweight search app, already available in the likes of Indonesia, is specifically designed with speed and data-saving in mind.

We’ve asked Google’s local representatives for details on the project as well as clarification on Lite availability.

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