Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mobile Phones vs. Computers

From the same post I just linked to (Google Blog):
Last week's launch of SMS services in Uganda is the direct result of this research — it's based on listening to what people want and finding a way to get it to them. Our research enabled us to observe first-hand how people instinctively wanted to interact with a mobile phone. We let people select the language they wanted to use. We gained deep insights into the way people formulate their questions and what questions really matter to them. On top of that, we saw the excitement on people's faces when they got their first-ever search results, and we realized that some of the information we could deliver to these users, such as health information, has the power to truly change lives. These new services in Uganda are just one step on the path to providing information to people who have little or no access to the web. This research will help us as we continue to develop more services to increase access to
information all around the world.
It's not surprising how much you can accomplish just by asking people what they want and observing how they use a new technology. Short of internet cafes or other shared space, there's virtually no way that you can reach the same number of people via computers that you can with mobile phones. Especially among populations with limited education. So good job Google, and hopefully they keep working on what people actually want, rather than imposing top down solutions based on what they think people want.

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