Google today has revealed that it is expanding its Google Play Music service to two additional countries. Starting today, the service is available in South Africa and Serbia. The launch in South Africa marks the first time the streaming service has been available in Africa.
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According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Google is now in the middle of a new project that will see the company develop wireless networks in emerging countries including sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Google plans on teaming up with local companies to develop the wireless networks, which are said to use airwaves normally reserved for TV, but will first have to get government approvals:
Some of those efforts revolve around using certain airwaves reserved for TV broadcasts to create wireless networks, but only if government regulators allowed it, these people said. Google has long been involved in public trials to prove the technology—which operates at lower frequencies than some cell networks, allowing signals to be more easily transmitted through buildings and other obstacles and across longer distances—can work. And it has begun talking to regulators in countries such as South Africa and Kenya about changing current rules to allow such networks to be built en masse.
The report mentions that Google is also “building an ecosystem of new microprocessors and low-cost smartphones powered by its Android mobile operating system to connect to the wireless networks,” although it didn’t offer up any other specific information on the devices.
It also points out a Google X project that takes advantage of “special balloons or blimps, known as high-altitude platforms, to transmit signals to an area of hundreds of square miles,” but it’s unclear whether or not the two projects are connected. expand full story
Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!
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Facebook announced an interesting new feature for its updated Messenger for Android app today: the ability to sign up/in using only a name and phone number. The announcement marks the first time Facebook is offering one of its core services and apps without the need of an actual Facebook account. The feature will initially roll out to select markets, including: India, Indonesia, Australia, Venezuela, South Africa, and more countries to follow. Facebook also told us it plans to open the feature to iOS users in the future. Since these users will not have a Facebook account, the app will pull the device’s contacts to start direct or group conversations.
An update to Messenger for Android is available today, and Messenger accounts will become available over the next few weeks
South Africa Stories March 27, 2012
Google’s consorted undertaking to virtually preserve the extraordinary life of African leader Nelson Mandela finally went live today.
Google’s Cultural Institute Product Manager Mark Yoshitake took to the Official Google Blog this morning to announce the Nelson Mandela Digital Archive project. The Internet giant gave a $1.25 million grant to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory of Johannesburg, South Africa last year to help preserve and launch documents and multimedia about Mandela online.
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In attempt to grow their young social network, Google has taken out a full page ad in the traditional print version of the New York Times promoting Google+ Hangouts. Search Engine Land posted the photo above, where Google talks about the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu hosting a Hangout last week in their ad. Google strikes out parts to explain how they came to the rescue when the Dalai Lama wasn’t granted a visa to visit South Africa.
Google’s decision to take out a full ad was definitely smart. Yesterday numbers were published by an analyst showing how much of Google+’s traffic is beginning to decline, but maybe spreading the social network to a different set of people will help. That ad is great and all, but why didn’t Google use some images to catch the eye?