Now turn left to Akintola street, Google Maps says in a female Nigerian accent. This was almost unbelievable as, prior to this, the voice we were conversant with was the automated foreign accent. The foreign accent almost makes it impossible to decipher Nigerian names. It turns out that it isn’t a dream and Google is really sounding Nigerian now — at least Google Maps is.
As of July 2019, Google Maps users are able to hear navigation in a local voice. Google Nigeria unveiled the local accents feature at an event last month. Clearly, Google is really invested in the emerging market, especially Africa and Nigeria in particular. The plan is to attract more use of Google Maps by the local populace.
Google now also offers detailed map features to both vehicles and motorcycle, ride-hailing services like Opay. The motorcycle directions will be available not just in Nigeria, but also in Ghana, Rwanda, Togo, Benin Republic, and Uganda. Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc. said it is doing this to capture new users and expand to people beyond drivers.
Google Maps in Naija accent
Google’s director of product management, Ramesh Nagarajan said, “There are 10 million (motorcycles) in Nigeria; it’s hugely popular. We’re going market by market based on popularity.” The company also looks to roll out a feature soon that will let Lagosians get direction on ‘informal transit’ like danfo buses. This will make it easier for newcomers in the city and Lagos commuter to find local bus information.
Google worked with a local start-up company, Road Preppers Technologies Ltd, to bring these features to light. They helped Google to gather information on the available routes and the best options based on traffic, bad roads, safety, and weather.
The map will also include information on the travel time, provide images as well as expected fare. It will give picture views of bus stops to make it easier for commuters to navigate the city. Google is also now expanding these features to other major cities like Benin City, Ibadan, Abuja and Ibadan.
All these come as Google unveiled its Augmented Reality walking direction feature to the global market.