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The Status of Google Baraza Three Months Later

By Wayan Vota on January 14, 2011


Last October, Google launched Baraza to make the Internet more locally relevant in Africa and bring more people online. Google says:

A large number of questions that are typed into Google’s search engine by users are written as if they were talking to their friends. For example, “How can I write a movie script for Nollywood?” or “How does the stock exchange operate in Ghana?” or “What is the recipe for bitter leaf soup?” or “What is the best company for car insurance in Nairobi?”

Unfortunately, many of these questions do not have good search results – the information is not online or it may be inaccurate. Many users have dozens of similar questions every day, but spend a lot of time looking for the answers.

Baraza is meant to be a questions & answers site to help users search for information about local businesses, entertainment, health, etc for people in countries across Africa. After a few months of usage, here are the most popular questions on Baraza – a cross section of African interests. Do any catch your fancy?

  1. Who are the top bloggers/blogs in Africa?
  2. Who Is The Best FootBaller In The World ?
  3. Are there successful african software development companies in africa?
  4. Who from South Africa uses Baraza?
  5. which is the best hotel in mombasa?
  6. Ghana is just about joining the oil producing countries, should Ghanaians expect a very significant change?
  7. How can I invest in Africa?
  8. do u think an online market based website would do well in the Ghanaian and african market?
  9. where can i get a nice lady 2 date
  10. What is the best University in Nigeria

Overall, it seems that there’s a decent uptake of Google Baraza. Enough that the site looks like it will grow, but its not taking off like Facebook has, nor will it threaten NairaLand. Personally, I was hoping for more substantial answers. Most are one sentence, seemingly written quickly.

And while many of us were excited to see Google launch Baraza for Africa, it seems that Google has similar sites for other countries since 2007: Wenda for Hong Kong and Otvety for Russia.


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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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