Hey Everyone.

Trying to live blog from the gSouth Africa event here in Camps Bay. Reason it is not happening LIVE live is that power is a bit of a challenge.

Currently I am in the “Chill Out and Recharge” room, getting some content online for you to read.

Nano and Console are your friends.

In order to save my battery I dropped to console and worked with Nano – I have been thinking that I could probably upload some textfiles for you to keep track of what is going on while I have power issues…

Morning sessions

The morning sessions where cool! My favourite so far was the Google Voice search demonstration that was given by Johan Schalkwyk from Google Research.

To the joy of Apple fans he had to switch to his iPhone because he had some connectivity issues and switched to his iPhone’s  3G network. For those who are crowing about “Ooh he switched to his iPhone” rather take away the fact that it WORKED on this Android, the CONNECTION failed, and it ALSO worked on his iPhone and he continued his demonstration without any problems.

The demo was about the technology, and not the phone used.

Live Notes

Time is running out – so below is an ugly copy and paste of my typings as the sessions went on this morning.

Session One

More than 50% of 16 yo do not use internet due to lack of pc access

More than 50% annyal mobile user growth per year over past 5 years

Mobile penetration in SA == 50%

Top income 38% internet, bottom income 7% internet usage/awareness. (Highest in africa, 2nd place Kenya)

SA has great mobile penetration, only 10% using internet,

For those already online focus on core == Google App, Adwords, Search, Maps, Youtube, Streetview.

nb Flu Trends

Serving larde advertisers

Growing Users

Assiessing challenges with adoption.

Reducing access as a barrier to all potential users.

Making the Internet relevant and useful to local people.

Sustainability. Helping to build an Internet evosystem in Africa that is viable an sustainable in the long term

ACCESS BARRIERS: Reducing latency

Supporting the foundation and encouragint the ecpantion of Internet Exh Points around Africa.

Educating Devs create efficient websites and apps to minimise loading times

Installing Google caches around Africa to reduce International Bandwidth requirements for ISP’s

Engaging with major telcos

Investment in regional projects

Google privides free internet bandwidth. 20 Universities engaged, 500k students and staff seeding refional infrastructure and newtorks.


Creating African Internet Experience – Language.

Localising Google Search in many Languages.

Google Maps in Afrikaans

Google Translate in Afrikaans.

SNS Chat in Gmail.

Send SMS mes to your contacts mobile phones using Gmail CHat.

Text response will appear as a reply in Chat.

Available with some operators in Ghana already.

Afrika has 1.1+ mill km of roads

1+ million points of Interest

300+ cities

Covering 50% of population

Hundreds of Thousands of Mapmaker edits


Google Earth helped discover hominid fossil.

Maps API available for devs and businesses.

Youtube launched in South Africa. First time in Africa.

Google Maps in 30 local domains

Google Places in South Africa

Google Sites provides a simple plartofm for new website creation and colabboration.

Tools for more African Content Creation.

Finding a stadion or Big Screen.

You can do this in some native languages.

Business easily found with Google Places.

(sites.google.com) [tango/jhb]

Google Baraza is a question and aswer product.

Maintaining repository. (very similar to yahoo answers?)

Just Launched Google Voice Search. in Eng Afr and isiZulu


Work with community of decs

Enabling the ecosystem Dev outreach.

Building and supporting tech communities.

Hosting Gafrica dev and tech events. (40 events this year alone)

Google CodeJam for SA

Mobile progamming for Local relevant prods

Cool apps developed for Mobile.

University outreach

Funding progs CS4HS

Bootcamps etc

Google has dual strategy in SA.

Access reducing access as barrier

Relevance making the internet relevant and useful to local peeps

Sustainability helping build an internet ecosystem in Africa that is ciable and sustainable in the locng term.

Google is serious ablout Africa and our strategy to get users online by developing an accessible relevant and sustainable internet ecosystem.

(45 googlers are here)

Session Two

Mobile in africa.

42million mobile subs
31 million internet capable handsets.
16% smartphone penetration in sa

More smartphone users than DSTV subscribers.

2014 smartphone penetration 80%

Google Voice Search

Johan Schalkwyk Google Research

Searching google from your phone

You can search from your smartphone by speaking into your phone. In afrikaans too!

Prof Ettienne Barnard n stage now

SA is culturally rich.

Unique opp to stude under served languages

Opp to bring the vast resources of the www to everyone in SA

early investment in future explosive markets.


Available content     - very little content in Zulu

Digestion of Conent     - access content in your own language
- literace rates are low in many parts of the developing world

Cultural ethic and linguisinc diversity – 11 Lan in SA many more in rest of Africa

How do we build voice search?

- For each language collect 100s and thousands of spoken queries.

Three types of models are crucial: Accoustic models: How a speach sound is vocalised (ie R in afri)

Pronounciation models map sequences of speech sounds to words.

Language models.

Voice search is a very hard problem. Google has invested in advancing the state of the art.

Unique use of data computational resources and exertise has enabled the recognition accuracy and resulting quality you see today.


innovating in mobile space, making content local and useful. enjoy using voice search (hah)

Dimitris meretakis – Google APIs in action

Session Three

Dimitris Meretakis

Google API’s in action

Lots of products out there. Maps API, Appe Engine, GWT,


Embed Maps in your own website or app

Overlay your own data on top of them.

Detailsed street maps in over 1– coutnries.

overs 75% of world with satellite.

Java APi’s, Native APIs static maps api

Have to support lower end phones hence the static maps api.

Take control of taxi costs in Athens. You can route your taxi with the athens taci cost calculator. Using the API and some javascript he built
the taxi mapper for a website

www.sleeping-out.co.za uses google maps api as well.

ushahidi mobile maps on android for kenya. enable citisen journalism and croudsourcing. Was popular during riots in kenya


How to build, where to cost.

Using google app engine.

build manage scale with google app engine.


Integrates will with google apps.

can code against java ui libraries. java source. using eclipse to build. can debug in browser. Holiday Inn using apis to find a hotel with a tooltip.

lombardi blueprint. esoko.com -> za country using google apis.

Google chrome extensions.

are enhancements/features for chrome

based on standard web tech and a few specific API’s

As easy to maintain and update as a webpage.

add to lanyrd.com/cwyz

google insight -> try it out.

Summary For Now

My laptop battery died at this point, so no session four. Lack of power in the lecture hall is a bit of a problem.

Bye for now, more later.

Related posts:

  1. g-South Africa Afternoon Session One
  2. g-South Africa Day Two Morning Session One
  3. g-South Africa Afternoon Session One
  4. g-South Africa Morning Session Two