Google Neighbourly, the tech giant’s social networking app for sharing local knowledge via question and answers, expanded its presence by adding Mysuru, Kota, Ahmedabad, Visakhapatnam and Coimbatore.
Google’s new initiative comes at a time when the company is striving hard to bring on board next million via other initiatives like WiFi network initiative, light version of YouTube and Tez mobile payment app.
Google launched Google Neighbourly as part of its Next Billion initiative early this year in Mumbai and Jaipur, where the company received overwhelming response from local community to find answers for questions on topics like fitness, food and shopping centres.
Interacting with DH, Google Next Billion Users Product Manager Ben Fohner said information collected by neighbours are valuable as there is more authenticity.
“We want this social networking app users to get answers from locals for queries related to their neighbourhood. The app accepts both textual and voice input in eight regional languages — Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada and Malayalam,” he said.
Fohner said it is getting harder to get good answers to questions in big cities across India because cities keep changing, including people who live there.
“Neighbourly helps you ask your neighbours questions, be a local expert, and keep up with your neighbourhood. With Neighbourly, your questions get routed to the right neighbours instantly, and then they can write back with the most up-to-date, relevant and accurate info,” he said.
Google said the company selected the cities after extensive user testing for the past several months. After speaking to locals in neighbourhoods, Google received encouraging response, especially from women, students and daily commuters.
Fohner said user privacy is an important component of Neighbourly app, in that it only shows questions and answers that a user posts. “Users are mentioned by the first name only. Neighbourly will not share a user’s email id or phone number. Also, a user can’t message another user directly in the app,” he said.
The tech giant said Google Neighbourly app has received five lakh downloads till now and will launch app for iOS as well soon.