Google launches new products and features for Indonesia
By Yunnie Marzuki August 30, 2017
- Products include Google Station Wi-Fi, YouTube Go, Google Assistant in Bahasa Indonesia
- Long-term commitment to develop digital skill sets, support SMEs and women entrepreneurship
GOOGLE announced new products and programmes for Indonesia at its second annual “Google for Indonesia” event recently, further increasing its efforts to make the Internet more useful and relevant for Indonesians.
On top of three brand new products for Indonesia — Google Station Wi-Fi, YouTube Go, and the Google Assistant in Bahasa Indonesia, Google also announced an expansion of its digital training programmes for developers, startups, women entrepreneurs, small business, students, and families.
Google Indonesia managing director Tony Keusgen opened the event with his overall goals for Google in Indonesia, “Our goal at Google is to build technology not for just a few people, but for everyone. We want every person coming online to get as much from the Internet as you and I do.
“Today we are working to do this in three major areas: bringing better access to the Internet, easier access to relevant and useful information, and more ways Indonesians can shape the Internet to make it work for them.
“Improving these areas, with game-changing products like Google Station and programmes like developer training initiatives, will help support Indonesia on its way to becoming the digital powerhouse of Southeast Asia.”
New products and features
Google’s product announcements all offered concrete solutions to the three areas of access, information, and contribution.
Google Station, an accessible for public Wi-Fi hotspots, are coming to Indonesia in partnership with FiberStar and CBN. Google’s partners aim to roll out high-quality Wi-Fi at hundreds of venues across Java and Bali over the next year. Indonesia is the first country to deploy Google Station after India.
“We realised that Indonesia needs high quality internet access to keep the people connected. That is why we create this opportunity with our partners who had the infrastructure and we will make it sustainable,” explains Google vice president of Next Billion Users Caesar Sengupta.
YouTube head of marketing for Next Billion Users Zuber Mohammed says that YouTube Go is coming soon to Indonesia.
YouTube Go, a new YouTube mobile app designed from the ground up, brings the power of video to mobile users in a way that is more conscious of their data and connectivity, while being locally relevant and social.
“Indonesia is the third country where we are testing the app. YouTube users who live outside Jakarta are still having connectivity problems and YouTube Go is targeting those market segments,” he explains.
The app helps users save and watch videos smoothly even with poor connectivity, and also gives them transparency and control over how much data they consume on videos, allowing them to preview videos first and choose the video’s file size before they save it offline to watch later.
YouTube Go’s imminent launch comes amidst an announcement about YouTube’s popularity in Indonesia. According to App Annie, over 50 million Indonesians already use YouTube on mobile each month.
Allo product lead Adam Rodriguez said that Indonesians can use Google Assistant for the first time in Bahasa Indonesia via the messaging app Allo.
Google Assistant is Google’s smart virtual assistant, powered by machine learning to help you to get things done without leaving the conversation.
In Allo, users can add the ‘Assistant’ to group conversations or talk one to one to get help with finding restaurants, learning together, sharing videos, checking daily soccer scores, and playing games with friends.
Google Search director Ken Tokusei announced that the Google Search mobile app will be making major improvements for Indonesians.
The app will be more relevant to Indonesians with the addition of tap-able shortcuts to explore topics of interest such as food and drinks, show times of movies and directions to places. It will also feature ‘Feed’, a glance-able, customised interest feed of favourite subjects, hobbies and trending news in the Google App, powered by machine learning.
“Indonesia will be one of the first countries where we’re launching locally-tailored health answers on Search, partnering with Mitra Keluarga group of hospitals to detail common symptoms and treatments for the 700 most prevalent health conditions,” he explains.
Waze head of growth Di-Ann Eisnor said that the popular social driving app will add features relevant to Indonesians, most importantly, a new routing feature based on odd and even license plates that helps Jakarta drivers easily follow the regulations of the odd-even policy.
“User growth in Indonesia has inspired us to provide more customised to local features. Jakarta is the first city that will have the odd and even license routing feature,” she explains.
Later this year, Waze also will add hands-free Bahasa Indonesia voice commands and navigation with street names, as well as an Indonesian voices suite. The company recently launched its Voice Recorder which permits Indonesians to record their own voice on Waze and use it as their navigation guide.
To empower more Indonesians to contribute to the Internet, Keusgen unveiled updates to its large-scale digital training programme, 100,000 Android Developers by 2020.
“We have already trained 25,000 people through online courses and Indonesia Android Kejar workshops in six cities, putting the company well on its way to training 100,000 Android developers by 2020.
“Google has also trained more than one hundred faculty members at 80 universities, who plan to implement the Android Developer Fundamentals course over the next year, reaching as many as 10,000 students,” he adds.
Google also has initiatives for enhancing and reaching out to Indonesian entrepreneurs as well as small and medium enterprises (SME). These initiatives include the Primer app, ‘Gapura Digital’, and ‘Womenwill’ programme.
Primer is a free app to help any Indonesian entrepreneur start, build and grow their business. Twenty-four lessons are available now in Bahasa Indonesia on topics like how to create a business and sell products or services online as well as the power of digital marketing. More lessons will be added over time and the app can be used offline.
Google’s programme for bringing more small businesses online, Gapura Digital, has already seen more than 4,500 people sign up for classes in the first three months in eight cities.
Womenwill, Google’s programme for empowering women entrepreneurs has already brought together 7,000 women across five cities in Indonesia.
Inspired by Indonesia
Keusgen (pic, above) told Digital News Asia (DNA) that it is part of Google’s mission to organise information and make it universally accessible.
“Indonesia is hugely important for Google. When we talk about the core fundamentals of the ecosystem, to organise information and to make it universally accessible, there are so many people in Indonesia. They need internet, and data. That actually means we help people to get connected by our product,” he explains.
He also says that Google’s strategy is to prove its long-term commitment to Indonesia by developing community digital skill sets and pushing local SMEs and women entrepreneurs to grow.
“We really need to make sure that we continue long term consistent investment in Indonesia. We do not want to think ourselves as an unicorn, but we want to be consistent and committed to this country.”
Keusgen admits that he faces challenges when Google announces the launch of new products or features because it takes time to reach as many people as possible.
“Every time we launch products tailored for Indonesia, it gets the team excited on how people live here. I’m confident that we will see more and more products becoming more localised,” he concludes.