Yesterday, Google launched Google Baraza, a community driven question and answer site allowing users to submit questions and answer questions posed by other users. The product is still in beta and marks another Google’s attempt at developing products specifically for the continent.
If you have used Yahoo Answers or Amazon’s Askville before, then you pretty much know what Google Baraza is. Or maybe you remember the now closed (for questions that is) Google Answers from 2006. Kind of same thing but without the formal researchers. A place where you can submit questions, answer other users’ questions, rate answers, participate in surveys, etc…
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I am a member of the Google Baraza team. One of Google’s goals in Africa is to make the internet more locally relevant and bring more people online. One of the challenges of the internet in Africa is that there is a lack of local content online. At Google, we find that users search for information about local businesses, entertainment, health, etc but often don’t find it because the information is not yet available online. In order to help bring more local content online, Google engineers have created Baraza to allow people in countries across Africa to ask questions and post answers to questions from others.
The word Baraza is Swahili for ‘taskforce’. Being a Google product, the site has ofcourse already registered a flurry of activity over the past two days, but it remains if it will receive the mainstream adoption it needs from the continent. The fact that there’s no existing successful question and answer site in Africa might work to Google’s advantage. For Google, introducing Google Baraza in local Africa languages will definitely get more people Barazing.