Google brings free Wi-Fi to 100 locations across the Cape Flats

A mock-up of a Google Station access zone at the Google for South Africa event in Johannesburg on November 7 2019.
A mock-up of a Google Station access zone at the Google for South Africa event in Johannesburg on November 7 2019.
Image: Google South Africa

Free wi-fi was introduced in more than 100 locations on the Cape Flats on Thursday, thanks to Google.

“By gaining access to information via the internet, we hope that people in these communities will get a more equal opportunity to learn and develop, and live more empowered lives,” said Google Africa director Nitin Gajria.

He said the Google Station service was available in areas such as Langa, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Delft, Elsies River and Philippi.

Google Station has been launched with internet service provider ThinkWifi, and will allow users to get 30 minutes of free wi-fi at a time. They can keep connecting as many times as they want.

The service launched in Indian railway stations in 2017 and has since expanded to Nigeria, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, the Philippines, Brazil and Vietnam.

The Cape Flats initiative was one of several announced at the Google for South Africa event in Johannesburg.

Google's Asha Patel announcing the technology company's new South African initiatives in Johannesburg on November 7 2019.
Google's Asha Patel announcing the technology company's new South African initiatives in Johannesburg on November 7 2019.
Image: Google South Africa

Google’s head of marketing for SA, Asha Patel, said $1m (R14.7m) was being donated to nonprofit organisations and social enterprises that support the economic empowerment of girls and women.

“One of the key focus areas of our programmes has been the empowerment of women and minority groups, and I’m happy to say that 48% of the people we have trained in South Africa are women,” said Patel.

A speech-based reading app that helps children learn how to read in English, Bolo, is also being launched in SA. It encourages children to read out loud and then provides individual, customised feedback to help improve their reading capabilities.

Google is also introducing Cameos, a selfie-style video app that allows celebrities and public figures to answer questions about themselves directly within Google Search.

Gajria said SA users of Google Assistant are now able to use it to order an Uber or read South African news from their favourite outlets.


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