Google Maps is one of the few necessary evils. In a world that is increasingly becoming concerned about the huge amounts of data that we are constantly passing on to big brother, something like location information is very sensitive. Yet we still need help finding places, help with directions, etc. Where do we turn to? Google Maps, of course.
Sure, there are equally capable alternatives like Here We Go but Maps is Maps and with new features like the ability to download maps, there are less and less compelling reasons to go with the competition. For Google Maps users in East Africa, there’s an even better incentive: Kiswahili is now part of the fold.
Support for Kiswahili on Google Maps arrived alongside that of 38 other languages including Afrikaans, Amharic and Zulu, the only other Africa-centred languages that made the cut this time round. With that, Google is now able to reach at least 1.25 billion people in languages that they are very well versed with.
It is almost 8 years since Kiswahili became one of the languages supported by Google Maps but that was on the desktop. It is only 2 days ago that Kiswahili support for the mobile app, which comes preloaded on almost all Android devices, arrived. Now everyone can get turn by turn instructions in kimvita.