On September 1st Kampala saw the kick off of Google’s gUganda, which was held at the Munyonyo Speke Resort Commonwealth Conference Centre. 650 Engineers, Designers, Web Developers, Entrepreneurs and Students learned how Google hope to spur Tech Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Africa and even closer to home Uganda.
“Africa’s the final frontier.”– Google. Hearing this I felt as If I were sitting inside the USS Voyager and we were about to go into Google deep space. And, who do you ask is the captain of this Tech journey? Nelson Mattos Engineering Vice President for Google Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), mentioned that for every 10,000 people in Africa there is 1 domain. In comparison to most Western Countries which have up to 94 domains for every 10,000 people. The Google VP a keynotes speaker at the event commented “We are very pleased to be hosting our first big developer event which will engage the local Tech and Business communities, and highlight the opportunities of the web. Our aim is to make the internet more locally relevant and useful to Ugandans, and help build a viable and sustainable internet ecosystem in Africa.”
Now I know to a lot of people that might think that is just a really good pitch, but what’s the catch? I mean most of the time when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. That doesn’t have to be the case according to Google who across the two day conference demonstrated to Tech Professionals and Entrepreneurs alike how Google’s straight forward and cost friendly (Free) tools and applications can be used to keep African content in Africa through internet exchange points (IXPs) also known as Google cache, create a greater online presence e.g. through applications like Google Maps and more locally relevant information, tools and applications. Through a sort of “Democratization” of locally relevant content if you will, along with trying to inspire people across the continent to innovate and optimize the opportunities available to create a more significant online presence for Ugandans and Africans alike. “Less than 10% of Africa’s users contribute to more than 1% of Africa’s Content.”– Google.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect the second day of the Google event since the day was heavily centred on Tech Entrepreneurship and how we can all use Google and their products such as Google’s Web Optimizer, Adsense (www.google.com/adsense) , Adwords (www.adwords.google.com) , Analytics (www.google.com/analytics/ )and Google Apps (www.google.com/a/ ) to create and maintain a successful online business, Cha ching! Now I am no Donald Trump but by the end of it all I felt that even I should be able to come up with an online income generating idea too. The Google team did a great Job of breaking down each of the online products on offer along with a demonstration and very interactive Q&A. The second day along with the two day conference was concluded with a panel discussion with a few successful home-grown Tech Entrepreneurs such as, Eric Kamau (www.trueafrican.com),
Benge Solomon King (www.nodesix.com) and Simon Kaheru Director of SMS Media along with a few others and the giving way of a Google Nexus one Android handset.
I will say by the end of the two days I had fried a few mental circuits but feel I have walked away with some sort of divine digital knowledge, having momentary access to what felt like an infinite source of opportunity. Now I wait with bated breath for next event. Have a look at the blog to find out about any up and coming events in your region www.google-africa.blogspot.com.