View Full Version : Why we need to get more connected with the online world

15th October 2011, 01:23 PM
There are now more than one billion people with access to the Internet – all creating, sharing and searching for information. Everyday, hundreds of millions of people look for restaurants, holidays, news, books, and much more-comparing prices and products, checking to see whether a flight is delayed, or communicating with their friends in far-flung places. Traffic over the web is reaching mind-boggling volumes - over 80 billion emails are sent and 3.7 million photos are uploaded everyday; and the blogosphere is over 100 times bigger than it was just three years ago and doubling every 200 days.


For many, life before the Internet is hard to imagine. It's easy to understand why - getting online has offered us unprecedented opportunities to discover, learn, connect, and simplify many of the tasks that need to happen to run our daily lives. This level of access to information has brought freedom, power and choice to people in a way that has rarely been seen in recent modern history.

However, this explosion of engagement with the worldwide web has not spread evenly across the globe. In some regions there remains a huge (currently missed) opportunity to revolutionise the way business is done, facilitate communication or simply get access to tools that make the most mundane tasks quicker, easier and more efficient. Internet penetration in Africa currently stands at around 10%. There are roughly 110 million online users out of a population of over 1 billion. In Ghana, penetration is only at 4.2% although usage is rapidly increasing. According to experts there is very little African content on the internet, and even less in African languages.. This presents a problem in terms of access to information for African web users; if the content is not available then there is less incentive for people to get online. Consequently, if fewer people are online the amount of local content produced remains low.

At its very basic level, the Internet satisfies a fundamental human thirst for knowledge, communication and self-expression.

Let's take knowledge as a starting point. The Internet has no borders - it facilitates a constant flow of information in multiple languages, on multiple subject matters from people from multiple countries. This ability to search across so many sources of information in more than 110 languages has put a myriad of subject matters at the fingertips of people who couldn't otherwise have expected to get access to it. A student in Ghana writing a research paper on the Incas of Latin America, for example, no longer needs to rely on the local library stocking ancient texts. The wealth of material available online - and the ability to automatically translate it into your own language - has democratised learning in an unprecedented way. From an exploration of rainforest damage in the Amazon on Google Earth, to the musings of a professor of marine biology, web search offers an increasing amount of helpful, specialist, informative content.

Then there's communication. Your day likely involves working with others to perform personal and work-related tasks. In the past, that meant a great deal of paper shifting, calendar juggling, and phone calling. Today, a concept we call 'cloud computing' is making it much easier to get things done.

Cloud computing moves all of our computer-based activities - searching, emailing, watching videos, creating documents, uploading photos, and more – to a virtual space on the Internet referred to as 'the cloud'. The fact that this data is stored securely on the web means you can access the information you need from any device with an Internet connection - including mobile and hand held devices - from wherever you may be. This is a significant change for anyone without Internet access at home and for an increasingly mobile workforce.
It also makes collaboration even easier than before. In the old world order, we would have sent text or picture attachments round on email to organise an event or ask for feedback on a document. The cloud eradicates the need for this, which for businesses large and small in particular represents a huge opportunity to cut costs and boost efficiency. An accountant in India chats with her colleague in Egypt as they work on the same spreadsheet. A team of designers around the world meet on a single, online document to plan their next product - all made possible simply by getting online.

Finally, the Internet has also created enormous opportunities for millions of people worldwide to express themselves: the freedom to create and communicate, to organise and influence, to speak and be heard. It's clear that people are fascinated by connecting with others, and the Internet has brought unprecedented access to communities in multiple geographies, languages and time zones. Video sharing sites, blogs, social networks, the ability to create your own website—all have offered a platform on which individuals, politicians, non-profit groups, and others can make themselves heard by a worldwide audience.

When all is said and done, few can deny that the Internet opens up access to information in a way that is crucial for the evolution of the modern world. We at Google are committed to ensuring that Africa takes full advantage of the potential of the Web. By making products such as web search available in Twi and other African languages such as Swahili, Amharic, Luganda and Zulu, building local partnerships and localising our products, we aim to play our part in increasing the amount of relevant content online for African local users, businesses and the region as a whole. Everyone has their part to play of course - be it starting up your own blog or creating a simple website, the smallest contribution will help to make the Internet as useful a tool to African users as is currently is to people all around the world..

samson smith
19th December 2011, 11:54 AM
Today's internet plays an important role. With the help of Internet, we are connected to each other all over the world. Most of the companies work online to provide the better services to the clients.