Kenya: In its attempt to lead generation of local content, Google East Africa has launched detailed maps for Kenyan towns. Mobile-phone users in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Nakuru will be able to access Google Maps and search up-to-date online maps, look up businesses, advertise free via Google Maps Local Business Centre, create their own maps and even check locations while on the move.
Google has maps for Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, but the level of detail is not what it is for Kenya, said Mark De Blois, Google Maps lead.
Google Maps is available in 23 African countries, but the company is providing more detailed maps that go beyond the capital cities and include other aspects of life. The company will divulge more information once the team finalises its plans.
The company has boosted the popularity of the maps by including content from local celebrities such as Wangari Maathai (Nobel Peace Prize winner), Julie Gichuru (TV presenter), Churchill (comedian) and Humphrey Kayange (Kenya Rugby 7’s team captain).
Google is also working with local software developers by providing APIs for Google Maps to help programmers, Web masters and designers to incorporate the functionality of Google Maps on their sites and develop new services based on local information.