Google’s head of media outreach across services like Google+, Google Earth/Maps, Google Trends and many more.
Sieberg who spoke with Emeka Aginam during recent Google Travel Event for Journalists in Europe, Middle East and Africa, EMEA, held in Madrid, Spain, talked about the Google digital map and how the app can help travellers navigate through their travel destinations.
Assuring that Google is working to offer solutions that will enable people use the apps offline, Sieberg said that the search engine is collaborating with the governments in Africa to enhance connectivity.
On the Google travel event
What we have done is assemble select journalists from three continents to help demonstrate how you can use a number of Google apps such as Google maps, to navigate through a place you have never been to before or some place you may have been to but need to have more information on. Even in your neighbourhood, you may not have noticed everything around you and these apps deliver the information you need at your finger tips.
Here in Madrid, participants have embarked on a journey through the city using Google products to uncover and navigate around local gems including world renowned art and architecture.From Google’s point of view, the aim of the project is to use various Google tools during the event to demonstrate their usefulness and effectiveness in the real world.
Using Google apps in Africa
Traffic can be problematic in places like Lagos, Nigeria for instance but with an app like traffic data, you can find alternate routes to take. Traffic can also be a huge issue when you are travelling on the continent but you can tell the taxi driver where to go based on traffic data from Google maps and if they don’t know the best way to go, the Google digital map can make things clear and simple. What Google maps does is give you the best information that you can get to make an informed decision on whether to take a different route. Giving our users the best information they can have is our goal and it will continue to be our goal.
Monitoring the Weather
With Google maps, you can use voice search to check on the weather conditions in a place. This is especially useful when you are travelling, to know how the weather will be like, even for a week ahead.
The challenge of Connectivity in Africa and Google maps
Google recognises that connectivity is an issue in some places around the world but we are hoping to offer solutions that will enable people use our apps offline. We hope that as time goes on, we will continue to experiment with ideas like Project Clone and that people would use these apps to make their lives better.
Also, even if you don’t have connectivity, you can actually download the maps offline so that you can use them when you get some airtime on your phone or mobile device.
Expectations for the participating Journalists
Our goal is that at the end of this Google travel event, every journalist will leave here knowing exactly what tools they have within the device and how they help make their lives easier.
Google also want their readers to understand the capabilities of the apps that can help make their lives that little bit easier, whether on-the-go travelling or spending the weekend with their families.
Challenges in Africa
Connectivity is certainly the greatest challenge. Trying to get access to the internet is an issue that millions of people face out there in the world. We think it is important not to allow the situation deteriorate and this is why we are collaborating with governments in Africa to enhance connectivity.
Specifically, on the Google Maps side, we are really dedicated to bringing Africa live on Maps.